Tattoos, Tongue Rings, and Other Body Piercings

Yes – you are still reading the California Labor & Employment Defense blog and we do have something to say about the items listed in the title of this post.

I came across this LA Times article recently about people removing their tattoos and body piercings because they feel that their appearances could impact their job prospects. Some employees entering into the corporate world are realizing that the tattoo they got in their early twenties does not portray the image of that of an executive or a children's camp counselor. 

The article correctly notes that generally employers are allowed to make job determinations upon and employee’s tattoos and body piercings.  Employers can also develop policies prohibiting employees to expose the tattoos and body piercings.  A great example of an employer implementing such prohibitions is Disney’s very conservative prohibitions mentioned in the LA Times article. 

One area of caution, if an employee protests against an employer’s grooming standard based upon his or her religion, the employer should carefully review whether it needs to reasonably accommodate the employee under the law.