Image & personal grooming by jon michail

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Image & personal grooming by jon michail

  1. 1. Personal BrandingImage & Personal Grooming in the WorkplaceBy Jon-MichailDiscrimination is increasing as more and more people experience the “joy” of tattooing and multi-piercingtheir bodies. In past years, such adornments were mainly the preserve of musicians and tattoo artists,but now we see them increasingly on people from all walks of life. In spite of this, it is a fact that youngpeople with piercings are not going to have an easy time, even more so when the economy is shaky.In the journal Youth Studies Australia, Paul Rowe states in her PhD research that ‘those with a lifelonglegacy of piercings, scarring, and/or tattoos face difficulty finding work’. When contacted by The Age forcomment, more than ten of the biggest recruitment agencies had no comment on the issue. Legally,discrimination of those with piercings and tattoos is not a straightforward issue, which makes recruitmentagencies reluctant to make a definitive statement.As reported recently in the media the executive director of employment rights community legal centreJobWatch, Zana Bytheway, says that the centre has been involved with 60 cases involving piercings and20 relating to tattoos. She observes that it’s difficult to mount a discrimination case because nobody isgoing to state that someone didn’t get the job because of their piercings. Instead, they will say that therewas a better candidate for the position. Recruitment agencies are being paid by the employer, so as longas they find a candidate the employer is satisfied with, nothing is said. It is not always easy to predict which employers are happy to accept pierced and/or tattooed employees. Some have policies on what is acceptable, and others are treated on their individual merits. For example, Amelia O’Reilly, a full time psychiatric nurse at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne, Australia has 20 piercings which she is not required to cover up. But in her part time job as a casual usher at a large concert and sporting venue, she is required to cover them. She thinks their policy is outdated, especially when some of the patrons are more outrageous than she is. Amelia O’Reilly - Psychiatric NurseHowever, it is not only employers who are divided over the piercing and body art issue. Many restaurantsand pubs are banning would-be patrons with visible adornments and tattoos by erecting signs that saythey will not be allowed in unless they cover up. Some have formal policies; others make informaldecisions. Paul Nicolau, the Australian Hotels Association chief executive says that licensees have theright to deny entry to anyone as long as they did not breach anti-discrimination laws. For further information on this handout and the consulting and coaching programs available please contact: Page 1 of 2 Image Group International Asia Pacific Head Office T: (+61 3) 9824 0420 E: info@imagegroup.com.au www.imagegroup.com.au ©2012
  2. 2. Some owners and managers believe that banning such patrons helps to keep out the ‘riff-raff’. AndrewStanway. the owner of a ritzy Sydney bar has a sign on his door stating ‘All body art is to be coveredand not visible to the naked eye’. He sees ‘respectful dressing’ as being respectful to his business, andthat he has seen too many places get ruined by ‘letting in the riff-raff’. Matt Morris – Spray PainterThe Australian Hotel and Brewery in Rouse Hill, NSW, Australia is a relatively new establishment thatenforces a ban on tattoos and ‘gangs or gang clothing’ on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Thegeneral manager Marcello Colosimo says that the ban applies to both staff and patrons, but at timesother than those advertised, tattooed patrons are welcome. However, Matt Thomas from Windsor sayshe was told that their policy depended on ‘whether the staff on the door liked the look of you’.Ms Bytheway, the chairwoman of the Law Institute of Victoria Discrimination Committee, says thatlegally, a tattoo is regarded as a physical attribute as it cannot be removed to satisfy standards of dress,whereas piercings fall under ‘management prerogative’ for standards of dress because they can beremoved.It appears that young people, before they make the decision to have piercings or tattoos, should be verymuch aware of the limitations they may be placing on themselves. Australia may be becoming moreaccommodating, but their employment and entertainment opportunities are still liable to be affected bythem, even if no one will admit to it.Experience tells me that people will be judged on their appearance no matter what law or social trend isin place. Therefore it is essential to know exactly the pros and cons of every grooming decision that ismade, otherwise you could be practicing “career limiting” behaviour and in an uncertain economicenvironment that may be a risk not worth risking.Do you know of anyone who has experienced similar challenges in your workplace? For further information on this handout and the consulting and coaching programs available please contact: Page 2 of 2 Image Group International Asia Pacific Head Office T: (+61 3) 9824 0420 E: info@imagegroup.com.au www.imagegroup.com.au ©2012

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