Do Tattoos Block Jobs?

man-with-tattoos-smilingDoes your tattoo impact your ability to get a job? Have you had the impression that your tattoo or piercing is not welcome at work? These questions abound as more younger people get permanent body art.

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Whether your place of business accepts permanent body art, or not, varies from company to company. “Open-minded” companies like Whole Foods, Ikea, Big Lots, Best Buy, and Google freely allow their employees to have tattoos and piercings; while many other companies have written policies that ban obvious tattoos, more than two ear piercings, or even long sideburns!

Getting a job at some of these more conservative companies can be tricky, if not impossible. The business world has lagged significantly in their acceptance of permanent body art, especially as it pertains to obvious tattoos and piercings (those on the hands, face and neck). Many companies, including the United States armed forces, the United Parcel Service, and others, ban obvious tattoos, and non-conventional piercings. They feel that they have a right to “project a certain image” and permanent body art doesn’t fit. . . for now. This ‘discrimination’, in one employer’s view, is part of “their prerogative to exercise a personal preference to NOT have customers distracted by body art”.

Many people mistakenly believe that ‘the law’ prohibits employers from discriminating against them based on their personal preferences like tattoos and piercings. Laws prohibit employers from discriminating based on race, sex, age, and handicap, but they are allowed to ban obvious tattoos, multiple piercings, and any other visually non-conforming body art. . . including hair length, elaborate beards and mustaches, and so on.

Military recruiters turn down one applicant after another who have obvious tattoos on their hands, neck and face as well as objectionable tattoos anywhere else on their body. . . obvious or not.

The military, as well as many other security-related government agencies do not allow racist, sexist, or gang-related tattoos anywhere on your body, covered or not. The army is currently considering further tightening the restrictions on tattoos “banning them below the knee or elbow.”

How many black teens know that the tattoo they just got on their neck or hand has banned them from joining the military? With jobs as scarce as they are, can they really afford to cross that option off at such a young age?

As more and more people get tattoos, grow older, and move up in the corporate ranks, the wide-spread acceptance of permanent body art will improve; but for now, a poorly placed tattoo can frequently be an unexpected job-stopper.

greg-hallBy Dr. Greg L. Hall

Gregory L. Hall, MD is a primary care physician practicing in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the author of the middle school health education supplement, “Teens, Tattoos, & Piercings: The health and social impact of permanent body art.”

After graduation from Williams College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, he attended the Medical College of Ohio, and completed residency in internal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Hall serves on the teaching faculty at Case Western Reserve University’s College of Medicine and is the Chairman of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health. He also sits on the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, and is Medical Director of Community Outreach at Saint Vincent Charity Medical Center.

Please find a  link to his book here:

13-Year-Old Declared Brain Dead, Showing Signs Of Life

Jahi McMathA judge ordered on December 24th, 2013 that 13-year-old Jahi McMath, a Northern California girl declared brain dead after suffering complications following a tonsillectomy, be taken off life support.
**UPDATED INFORMATION**: Jahi’s condition has changed since this article was originally published.  Please see the updated statement from the family at the end of this article.

READ: What Is Brain Death?

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Grillo issued the order after a Stanford doctor testified that Jahi is brain dead. Dr. Paul Graham Fisher’s evaluation was the second to reach that conclusion.

Children’s Hospital of Oakland, where Jahi was hospitalized, has asked that the girl be taken off life support after doctors there also concluded she was brain dead.

However, Jahi’s family has said it believes she is still alive and that the hospital should not remove her from the ventilator without its permission.

NewsOne: 2nd Opinion Ordered For Teen Declared Brain Dead

Hospital lawyers disagree.

“Because Ms. McMath is dead, practically and legally, there is no course of medical treatment to continue or discontinue; there is nothing to which the family’s consent is applicable,” the hospital said in a court filing on Tuesday.

Jahi’s family says the girl bled profusely after a tonsillectomy and then went into cardiac arrest before being declared brain dead. Despite the family’s description of the surgery as routine, the hospital said in a memorandum presented to the court Friday that the procedure was a “complicated” one.

The judge on Monday had called for Jahi to be independently examined by Fisher, the chief of child neurology at Stanford University School of Medicine.

On Dec. 12, doctors concluded the girl was brain dead and since then have wanted to remove her from life support. Jahi’s family wants to keep her hooked up to a respirator and eventually have her moved to another facility.

“They failed her,” said Sandra Chatman, Jahi’s grandmother and a registered nurse, who sat in Grillo’s courtroom for more than three hours Tuesday during the closed door testimony. “Jahi could have been saved.”

“Miracles happen,” Chatman added.

READ: How To Cope With The Stress Of Medical Emergencies

The family’s attorney, Christopher Dolan, said he would file an emergency appeal to keep Jahi on life support if the trial judge orders her removal from the ventilator.

Dolan also wants a third evaluation done by Dr. Paul Byrne, a pediatric professor at the University of Toledo. The hospital’s attorney objected to Byrne, saying he is not a pediatric neurologist.

Arthur L. Caplan, who leads the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center and is not involved in Jahi’s case, told The Associated Press that once brain death has been declared, a hospital is under no obligation to keep a patient on a ventilator.

“Brain death is death,” he said, adding, “They don’t need permission from the family to take her off, but because the little girl died unexpectedly and so tragically, they’re trying to soften the blow and let the family adjust to the reality.”

Family members won a court order to keep her on a ventilator, and eventually got permission to transfer her to an undisclosed care facility, despite broad consensus among medical experts that her body will continue to deteriorate.

**UPDATE**: In an interview with The Chronicle on March 15, 2014, at the office of the family’s attorney, Jahi’s uncle Omari Sealy, 27, said that while his niece remains unconscious, she looks healthy and moves her head, legs and arms regularly. Showing such signs of life, he said, the family is not going to give up on her.

She even turns in the direction of visitors when they enter her hospital room, an indication that she understands her surroundings, Sealy said.

“She moves so much, she can turn on her side,” he said. “They have to keep her bed rails up. They’re afraid she could fall out of bed.”