Ask the legal expert: nursing home staff tattoos and piercings

Share this article:
Attorney John Durso, Ungaretti & Harris LLP
Attorney John Durso, Ungaretti & Harris LLP
What can we do to discourage employees from getting tattoos and body piercings?

While tattoos and piercings are becoming increasingly more common in today's society, employers are still allowed to at least restrict their visibility at the workplace.

Courts consistently find that a policy forcing employees to cover tattoos and piercings is allowed, as long as it is for a legitimate business purpose.

The best practice regarding limiting tattoos and piercings in the workplace is to make sure that there is a written policy and that managers consistently enforce that written policy.

If a company has a written policy that contains a dress or appearance code, including one limiting tattoo and piercing visibility, it must be for a legitimate business purpose.

For a long-term care facility, the patient's comfort with the staff most likely will fall under a legitimate business concern.

The only time where this question becomes difficult is if the employee's tattoos or piercings are for religious purposes. If an employee asserts that the tattoo or piercing is an expression of a religious belief, then the employer may be required to develop an accommodation that is reasonable to both parties. If both sides are intent on working something out, this shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

In these situations, having a tattoo or piercing of a religious figure is not itself enough to invoke this accommodation requirement, but the tattoo or piercing must itself have a religious purpose.

The general principle is that barring an issue of religion, if an employer has a reasonable, recorded policy that is consistently enforced, the employer can limit the appearance of tattoos and piercings.  

Share this article:

More in News

Double homicide at Houston nursing home; victims' roommate arrested

Double homicide at Houston nursing home; victims' roommate ...

A double murder occurred late Tuesday night in a Houston nursing home room shared by four men, according to local authorities. Police arrested Guillermo Correa on suspicion of beating two ...

$2 million HIPAA settlement highlights mobile device risks facing healthcare providers

Laptops and other mobile devices containing personal health information have been stolen from long-term care ombudsman programs and other healthcare organizations, including from Concentra Health Services and QCA Health Plan Inc. Now, Concentra and QCA have agreed to legal settlements totaling nearly $2 million, federal ...

Long-term care nurses often 'scramble' to get family members' blessing for palliative ...

Nursing home residents might not transition to full palliative care until they are very near death, at which point nurses and family members act in a state of crisis, suggests recently published research out of Canada.