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Rights For The Pierced Essay, Research Paper

The main qualifications an employer looks for in potential employees is integrit, honesty, the ability to interact with others, and language skills. Typically employers are looking for a person who can provide the best services related to the business in need. American companies claim to be equal opportunity employers, but how can they provide equal opportunities when there is still discrimination agenst a group of people? The group of people I am speaking about is the people who choose to adorn their body with visible piercings. The idea that the number of body piercings a person has will effect their job performance is as ridiculous as saying a persons hair color effects their intelligence. In the work force today most employers strictly forbid their employees to wear visible body piercings.

A general overview of piercing is needed to ensure a common understanding from which to work. For the purpose of this discussion, body piercing will be defined as any object intentionally left in the body for wich there is no physiologicall or functional purpose. It must have had to be placed in body in an event wich took a concious decision. Earlobe piercing will not be discussed unless it is in the case where it has become extensive. The peircings will be considered extensive when there are 4 or more per ear.

The focus of my paper will be that there should be no rules in company dress codes that pretain to visible body piercings.

Ever sence the act of body piercing has become a mainstream trend, many companies have changed their dress code policies to where they prohibit employees from wearing facial jewelery. There is no proven fact that the amount of jewelry worn by a person directly or indirectly effects their work performance. Therefor people should not be discriminated agenst in the work force because of their personal choice to decorate their bodies. The main reason companies have objections to body piercing is because it is something distinct and new. There are many people who do not yet accept body piercing as being ordinary, even though it is highly common. Article nineteen of the Universal Decloration of Human Rights states that Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas…regardless of frontiers. Employers preventing their workers from o wear their jewelry infringes this right.

Because there have been many people forced to take out their piercings while working there have been new pieces of jewelry created. The main function of these peices is to either cover the hole from the piercing or to hide the jewelry while still keeping the piercing in. These pieces range from retainers that are made to keep the holes open while hideing the jewelry in, to plugs wich do just that, plug up the hole with a piece of flesh colored material. Both of these pieces create the illusion that there is no piercing what-so-ever.

There is so much effort and money put into keeping piercings open, employers should take into account that a piercing is a form of self expression that no piercee wants to sacrifice. People pierce their bodies for various reasons. Though the occasional eyebrow or tounge ring is mostly acquired for fasion purposes, there are other reasons people aquire piercings. There are two contrary rolls of piercings in Western Culture. First there is piercing as a trend based on the desire to stand out. It is an expression of non-conformity. Second there is piercing as a device to aid in the development of the ideal self. These piercing are looked at as more of a process than a badge of indifferance.

There are some corporations that do not prohibit visible facial piercings on employees. Lexmark, a company in Boulder Colorado which employes more than three-hundred people in jobs ranging from assembly to engineering, has a basual business dress code. There is nothing in the dress code that disallows employees to be pierced. Joyce McKee from Lexmark s human resources department states It s just not come up as being an issue. She says that as long as piercing is not a safety issue and doesn t affect a persons performance, it won t come up in dress code discussions.

Barry Bagels, a multi store corporation based in Grand Rapids Michigan employes a young man who sports a large rin in his septum (the cartilage between the nostrils) and half inch streatched holes in each of his ear lobes. Ralph Solomon who is the owner of Barry Bagels said As long as the customers arn t bothered by his rings I don t really see what differnce it makes if he wears them or not.

Is all of the bother with dress code policies just an act to protect the eyes of clients? From a business standpoint, they want as much exchange as possible to create a high revinue. If the way a person employed by a company looks offends customaers, those customers are not as likely to return to the business. Businesses work hard to provide their customers with a uniform look in employees. Uniforms are even provided in most businesses where customer service is nessisary. It is impossible to make every employee look like the next, but by produce employees as products of the company there is a certain safe ground created where any loss of business will not be due to the offensive looks of employees. Becky Eavier, the proprietor for Outback Steakhouse in Grand Rapids, Michigan has a strict two ear ring per ear policy in her resteraunte. Outback as a company has a one ear ring per ear policy, but I just don’t think that is realistic she says. I dont allow the girls to wear more than two ear rings per ear while they are waitressing here. There are just too many customers who would be bothered by all that jewelry.

In conclusion, body piercing should not be an issue when it comes to who will be hired for a job and who will be rejected. People who do have piercings should not be required to remove them just to stay in ordinence with the dress codes of their company. As long as visible piercings are not a health issue there should be no reason for them to be banned. As a form of self expression, body piercings are a part of what makes people who they are. Anyone who has had a piercing for an extended period of time will say that if you remove their piercing they do not feel whole . They feel as if something is missing. There are many talented people in the world that happen to have a few rings through their skin. Their abilities will only be disregarded if employers continue to impose negitive assumptions apon people due to visible body piercings. The person with the pierced lip has exactly the same feelings as the straight laced professional, and often the exact same qualifications. They just might have a little more metal to their make up.

1. Berch, Micheal C. 1997 Body Piercing.

http://www.postmodern.com/ mcb/piercing.html. October 23, 1999

2. McCabe, Mike. Nov. 1997 The ShiftingUrban Body: In the culture of Recognition.

http:www.bmezine.com/culture/metlect.html. October 23, 1999

3. Uhland, Vicky. 1998. Tattooing, Piercing Seldome in Company Dress Codes.

http://www.bcbr.com/jan98/pierce2.htm. October 25, 1999

4. Smith, Benjamin. 1998. In What Ways, and For What Reasons, Do We Inscribe Our Bodies? http://www.bme.freeq.com/culture/98115/whatways.html

5. Videtto, Dan. Personal Interview. October 30, 1999

6. Eavier, Becky. Personal Interview. October 30, 1999


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