Body modifications deter students from work force

Allison Lawrence is having a difficult time finding a job due to her body modifications. She has tattoos over a vast majority of her body and has dyed her hair blue.

Tattoos, and other forms of body modification, are becoming more common in the workplace, however, employees may feel they must fight to express their individuality while following work policies.

Businesses like Fred’s Dollar Store on Court Street have maintained strict policies on different forms of body modification.

“Tattoos have to remain covered at all times and only one piercing, which has to be in the ears, is allowed,” said Misty Oliphant, operations expert at Fred’s.

Other area businesses, like Buckle in Regency Square Mall, have started allowing their employees to have piercings and tattoos and not keep them hidden.

“We do allow tattoos as long as it’s something that is still family-appropriate   — no profanity or anything inappropriate,” said Zack Bush, manager of Buckle.

Junior Alison Lawrence said she has experienced difficulties finding potential employers due to her tattoos and blue hair.

“I have actually run into more problems with my hair color than I have with my tattoos lately,” she said. “More people have told me I would have to dye my hair more than they tell me I would have to cover my tattoos, which I find really strange.”

Freshman Ismael Howard said he does not think people should have larger tattoos in the work field.

“I really don’t think it should matter, although I do agree with the rule that if you have a sleeve it shouldn’t be allowed, because it doesn’t draw people to the workplace,” he said.

People with tattoos and piercings are often times judged unfairly, Lawrence said.

“Tattoos and hair color — none of that affects your ability to do a job in any way, no matter what kind of job it is,” she said. “It doesn’t gauge how smart you are or how fast you learn or if you’re qualified.”

Buckle allows body modifications because they do not want to stifle their worker’s self-expression, Bush said.

“Buckle loves for people to be able to express themselves with clothing, so we wouldn’t want to not hire someone based on them expressing themselves on their body,” he said.

Although businesses such as Buckle are accepting of those who wish to express themselves through body modification, Lawrence said she believes it will take time for most other businesses to follow suit.

“It’s just a personal choice to go forth (and) express yourself, so I don’t think it should still be an issue,” she said. “I think it’s still going to take time because everyone that is hiring you or in charge of a company are from a different generation that doesn’t really understand it. It wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now.”