Hennepin County Sheriff's Office won't hire you if you have a visible tattoo
|Have a full sleeve? You won't work for the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department as long as Rich Stanek is around, apparently.|
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No other Hennepin County department's have a tattoo policy, the Star Tribune reports. The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office asks employees to cover up tats but only explicitly bars face and neck tattoos.
The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office somewhat lamely justifies its anti-tattoo policy by referencing the priority placed on the safety of inmates in Hennepin County Jail. But that begs the question -- how would tattooed deputies and jail guards make inmates any less safe?
The Star Tribune's report focuses on the case of Ryan Stevens, a 31-year-old guard at the Faribault prison who wants to become cop, but was recently disqualified from a job with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office because of a full-sleeve tat on his left arm and a half-sleeve on his right.
From the Strib:
Bob Boisvert, an employment law expert at Minneapolis law firm Fredrikson & Byron, said an employer must have a "legitimate, non-discriminatory business purpose" to ban tattoos. But legal standards differ between public and private employers.According to a USA Today report published last September, roughly 20 percent of Americans have a tattoo. But if a CareerBuilding survey from 2011 can be believed, those 63 million people aren't doing themselves any favors when it comes to advancing their careers -- in that survey, 31 percent of employers said a visible tattoo would make them less like to extend a promotion. That was the third most promotion-damaging factor behind piercings and bad breath.
Unlike the sheriff, most private employers "don't have the compelling business reason of dangerous inmates," he said. Government might have an easier time than a private employer of finding a compelling interest for a policy, he said. But government employers also are required to provide greater First Amendment protections to freedom of religion and speech.
Have tattoos and headed for a job interview sometime soon? Wear a long-sleeved shirt, and consider picking up some mints on the way.