September 29, 2020

BY CASSIE TULECKI

In the past decade tattoos were seen as a sign of gang involvement or associated with criminals who broke the law. Today they are part of our culture; for younger generations they are a sign of expression. Body modification, including tattoos, piercings, sub-dermal implants and even stretching of the earlobes, is accepted in most social circumstances.

However, in the workplace many standard dress codes prohibit body modification. Many employers see it as unprofessional and, therefore, choose not to hire people based on that, which is legal. It is time Canadian laws changed.

Two people with the same skills and education will be seen differently if one has a visible tattoo or a facial piercing. We believe the person without a visible tattoo will likely be the one who gets the job.

If an employer decided to withhold a job promotion because the employee was female that would be considered discrimination. Any company that refuses to hire an individual based on race, ethnicity or religion would be open to a lawsuit.

We believe that there is a change coming when it comes to having tattoos and piercings in the workplace.

Some will always believe that tattoos are “dirty” and for criminals and do not belong in the workplace, however, as tattoos become more mainstream, the bosses themselves will have them.

Still, current generations and even future ones will have to work hard to overcome the stereotypes in society.

George Lewis, owner of the downtown Kitchener tattoo shop, Déjà vu, said since he started his career more people get tattoos because they want to stand out and be different from the rest of the world. “People like the idea of wearing something on their skin to just express who they are as a person,” he said.

“The stigma of it has been taken away. People used to think girls with tattoos were nothing but tramps, but that’s gone now. Now girls have more tattoos than guys these days.”

“It has been forced into acceptance,” he said, adding he has friends who weren’t allowed to work for certain companies because they had tattoos.

People need to remember that tattoos and piercings are an art form, so, instead of being critical, they should accept and encourage others to express themselves in a creative way.

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