Some of us are familiar with dress codes in our places of employment. What about when it comes to tattoos or piercings, though? There are indeed societal boundaries and opinions out there, but do employers set actual guidelines within the dress code for whether an employee is allowed to have visible tattoos and body piercings?
Specifically, can postal workers have tattoos or piercings that can be seen? The answer here is yes, these federal employees are permitted to have tattoos and/or piercings. That answer is conditional, however, as you may have suspected. Below are some of the limiting standards that can call an employee’s tattoo or piercing into question.
- Overall General Appearance
- The Nature of the Tattoo
- Piercings Causing Safety Concerns
- Any Contradiction of What the Organization Stands For
The Technical Answer
Let’s start with just the technical answer, which is yes, postal workers can have tattoos and piercings. While there is a lot said about uniforms and appearances in the regulations for employment and labor laws that guide the employees of the United States Postal Service, you won’t find anything specifically addressing whether or not it’s permissible for a postal worker to have visible tattoos or piercings.
If you pay attention when you walk into a post office, you’ll likely see people working there that do, in fact, have piercings and tattoos somewhere noticeable. This federal organization actually prides itself on being diverse and inclusive. If you look on the USPS website, you’ll find they value difference and individuality in people. According to their “About” page, “We define diversity as the richness of cultures, perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds.” The foundation they have laid is one of inclusiveness for individuals, thus allowing for tattoos and piercings as part of who people are.
All of that being said, the ideas about inclusiveness and diversity and allowing employees to be who they are, are not meant to allow them to destroy the reputation of the organization. Nor is it ok for workers to make customers and colleagues feel uncomfortable, insulted, or threatened by an employee’s piercings or tattoos.
There is also wording in the regulations giving leadership the right to make judgment calls for what is appropriate and what is not. For instance, if an employee shows up at work with a face that is covered in tattoos, and it is deemed this worker is disrupting the workday, then action can be taken.
If a piercing is causing an employee to have to wear their uniform in a way that is against what the policy states, then a manager may have to require that employee to remove the piercing. Some uniforms must be worn for many postal positions and in a specified manner. If a piercing prohibits the worker from doing that, the piercing can be restricted.
The regulations, states, “Postal employees are responsible for being adequately and properly dressed for duty.” It is also stated that “Supervisors are responsible for continually observing the uniforms of employees and taking appropriate corrective action, when necessary, to ensure employees are properly attired.”
The Nature of the Tattoo
Most tattoos are harmless and simply express someone’s personal likes. Some are tasteful memorials for the remembrance of loved ones who’ve passed. Now and again, though, you’ll come across a tattoo of a more questionable nature. There are many reasons a tattoo could be viewed as questionable, and while there’s no way to name all of those reasons, here are some of them:
- Nudity present
- Racist in nature
- Gender biased
- Derogatory in nature
- Insulting to a religion
Like was said above, this list is not meant to be exhaustive. There are plenty of reasons that a tattoo can be offensive, these are just some of the most common ones you’ll likely see.
Should it be found that the tattoo you have is offensive to someone’s sensibilities, you may be asked to cover it up during the times you are working. If you refuse to do so, there could be consequences for that, including employee reprimand that could eventually result in the loss of your job. You will be given the time to comply with what leadership is asking of you, but it will be up to you what happens after that, based on your actions.
Piercings Causing Safety Concerns
Piercings come in all shapes, sizes, and places these days. There’s no specific language about them in the dress code for the USPS. However, some kinds of piercings could raise concerns over safety while on the job.
An example of this would be an employee who has an ear-piercing, as well as a nose piercing, and there is a chain that connects the two. The Postal Service reserves the right to require that you remove the chain and/or the piercings because of the risk of injury while you are working for them. The same is true for any type of piercing that is deemed as potentially dangerous for the bearer or anyone else during work shifts.
Essentially, this isn’t any different than mechanics or other types of workers who aren’t allowed to wear wedding rings, watches, and other pieces of jewelry because of the risk that they will get caught in a piece of equipment. The jewelry restriction isn’t to stifle someone’s self-expression, it’s to maintain the person’s safety and that of those around them.
Which other civil servants can or cannot have tattoos? Find out here: https://civilservicehq.com /can-police-officers-have-tattoos/
Any Contradiction of What the Organization Stands for
What’s funny to you may not be funny to your coworker. If something represented on your body is offensive to the sensibilities of another individual that you work with, this can make the working environment one that is hostile for others. Your leadership team will be tasked with creating an environment for working where everyone can feel at ease. That’s part of what the USPS strives for with its promotion of diversity and inclusion. If your tattoo or piercing is found to be in direct opposition with these systematic beliefs, you may be asked to cover up the tattoo or remove the piercing in question.
The lack of any specific language regarding tattoos and piercings isn’t to give employees free rein to be as inappropriate or insulting as they want, it’s to allow for healthy self-expression. The USPS still needs to maintain a good reputation that conveys the message it wants to send to the general population, its customers, and its employees.
Postal workers can have tattoos and piercings that are visible while they’re working. They are expected to be of an appropriate nature, safe for the bearer and others, still, allow for a nice appearance of the employee, and be in line with the principles and beliefs of the United States Postal Service as a whole. There are some instances where you could be asked to cover up a specific tattoo or remove a specific piercing. Leadership is allowed the discretion for making those requests if they feel it is necessary. The bottom line is that postal workers come from all sorts of backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and more. This organization values all kinds of people and wants to maintain a balanced, comfortable, and safe environment for all of its employees.
Can postal workers have beards?
Postal workers are permitted to have beards. As with tattoos and piercings, there is no specific wording regarding the regulation of beards on postal workers. It comes down to the same thing, however. Management and the USPS, as a whole, want to present a professional-looking employee who is ready to do his or her job. If you come to work with a long beard that is dirty with food stuck in it and reeking, you’ll likely be addressed by your leadership to do something about it. If you don’t comply, there could be consequences. Other than that, there’s not an issue with having a beard and working as a postal employee.
What should I wear to my post office interview?
This question comes up regarding all sorts of jobs. You should present yourself in a clean, neat, and professional fashion. Men should wear shirts and ties, or a full suit, while women should put on a suit, business dress, or business shirt and skirt. Don’t show up to the interview wearing shorts, jeans, t-shirts, sweatsuits, or something that isn’t typically considered as business attire. It gives a bad first impression, and could potentially cost you the job.
Does the post office provide uniforms?
Some uniforms are required for mail carriers, maintenance workers, and some of the other full-time employees of the USPS. The organization issues clothing allowances to the workers who are required to wear uniforms. There is an anniversary date that becomes associated with the employee’s allowance so that additional uniform items needed can be purchased with the renewed allowance money. The allowance is only applicable to required items, and employees are responsible for not exceeding the limits of their clothing allowances.
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Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
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