First, there was a time when tattoos were typically worn by sailors and bikers. Then, professionals began getting “inked” but were careful to keep their art in areas covered by work clothes. Now, visible tattoos are common among all professionals, from doctors to nurses and everyone in between.
Things have certainly changed! With that in mind, here are 4 Reasons smart employers shouldn’t discriminate against healthcare job applicants with tattoos:
- Social Acceptance – Some of us who may be a bit older remember a time when tattoos had a sort of stigma. But, that is simply no longer the case. Not only are tattoos commonplace among all social classes, but they are often appreciated as works of art. Very few patients will judge their care provider for visible tattoos, as long as the art is tasteful and not offensive. Even visible “ink” on arms, shoulders, and legs is very normal in today’s society.
- Generational Discrimination – Senior managers and company leaders must be careful that their traditional perspective doesn’t translate into discrimination. It’s understandable that an older person may not completely appreciate the tattoo culture among younger folks. However, that “generation gap” is not a license to discriminate.
- Workplace Inclusiveness – There’s no reason for healthcare employees or nurses with tattoos to feel like outcasts these days. And, it doesn’t benefit leadership to make them feel excluded. Work cultures that marginalize specific groups of employees hurt morale for everybody. As soon as word spreads that a job applicant was denied due to her tattoos, current employees who also have tattoos may feel unwelcome.
- Creative Expression – Did you know that many younger workers see colleagues’ tattoos as a sign of strong creative aptitude? So, instead of viewing their art as a negative, many workers will rightly view it as a positive indicator. Perhaps that person’s creativity will translate into solution-oriented thinking that benefits the entire team.
Exceptions – As with all responsible hiring practices, managers must exercise reasonable judgment that is compliant with employment laws. If a candidate comes to an interview with highly-offensive, racist or gang-related tattoos, it’s understandable to have concerns. Job applicants should respect the unspoken rules of professionalism when it comes to visible tattoos, just as they would with dress attire and communication.
In the end, hiring managers wield tremendous power when interviewing nursing and healthcare candidates. All responsible leaders should be cautious when vetting potential employees. It’s entirely appropriate to consider one’s professionalism in terms of dress, appearance, and communication. However, non-offensive visible tattoos should not be a disqualifier.
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