• Sarine Kaprielian

Prejudice Against Getting Inked

I see tattoos as a piece of art on a person’s body, whether it has a meaning or not. They are a form of self-expression. People get tattoos for different reasons; it could be a memorial piece for a loved one who passed, a matching tattoo with a friend or family member, losing a bet, or just for the art. Tattoos have been generating popularity for the past couple of decades, with 30% of Americans having at least one tattoo. However, this doesn’t stop employers from discriminating against those that have them. Alterations of the body that include dying your hair, getting piercings, and getting tattoos are seen as taboo and should not be revealed in a professional setting. Hiring managers prefer employee candidates not to have tattoos, or at least non-visible ones. Even when a tattooed person is chosen for a job, they are more likely to start at a lower salary compared to their non-tattooed co-workers.

A woman by the name of Jessica Leonard stood up by posting a side-by-side headshot of her in a suit and another exposing her tattooed sleeves on her LinkedIn.

It was a bold thing to do, but it proved to the world that you can be a professional and still get tattoos. It should not matter if a person has tattoos; it should only matter if they are good at their job. Not employing someone who is qualified for a job or not believing someone is qualified for a job because they have tattoos is discrimination against that person, just as one can be discriminated against based on the color of the skin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender.

I have always wanted to get tattoos, but because I want to be a lawyer in the future, I strayed away from the idea out of the fear that having tattoos would make me unemployable to a law firm.

I would hate to go through three years of law school and countless hours of studying for the bar exam just for an employer to look at me and say no. Or for a client to say that they don’t want a tattooed lawyer representing them.

What a person looks like or what a person decides to do with their body should never be a reason to not employ someone. Tattoos do not tell an employer someone’s work ethic, qualifications, or knowledge a person has. It is all assumption based, and all it does is cost a person a chance to make a living for themselves.

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