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Workplace Tattoos Here to Stay, Bans Tricky

Jan. 8, 2019, 11:16 AM

Tattoos or “body art,” piercings, and beards are increasingly part of the norm in society at large, and employers’ grooming and appearance policies seem to be slowly following suit—in part because of the legal risks involved. Walmart, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Marriott, and other companies have adopted more lenient policies over time, sometimes leaving final decisions to lower level managers.

Companies that pass over applicants or punish workers for their appearance could be accused of discrimination and sued if the look is tied to a protected characteristic, such as race or religion. That’s what happened to UPS, which paid...

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