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New form of workplace discrimination?


images (1)Body modification discrimination-that may sound new to a few of you. That’s because it is. However it does not need much explanation to the average teenager or twenty-something, as most of us are either strolling around with at least one piercing or maybe a tattoo hidden somewhere. If not, I bet you can name at least one person who does. I also bet you could just point one out in a public area.

I myself have one hidden tattoo on my upper-inner left bicep, and I do have my ears stretched up to a ½ inch.

Anyways due to the rising amount body modifications in the current generation, the older generations I’m noticing are have a hard time getting used to this. I can only imagine the stereotypes they had growing up about tattoos or piercings, those usually being sailors or prison inmates.

As with most students this time of year, March is a prime opportunity to go out and hunt for summer jobs. As I was out on Mission Street a few weeks ago grabbing applications, there was one stop in particular I will not forget, nor will they be seeing my business anytime soon.

I walked into (I won’t give out any store names) and approached a lady who appeared to have a management position, “Hello! Are you by chance hiring for summer jobs?” I ask.
“Yes we are!” She said, and walked behind the counter to grab me an application. She explained that it took a while to fill out, and to call if I had any questions. I asked if I should print off a resume, and she said it didn’t matter. I wrote one up anyways and returned to the store within twenty minutes.
I returned to the store to find she wasn’t there. I asked a few associates where the lady was that I just spoke with; they said she was on the phone. I said I’ll wait because I wanted to be sure she had it in her hands.

“Oh, hi!” the lady says, after about 15 minutes of waiting. She had been laughing it up on the phone.
I hand her my application and resume, and she asks me various questions (where I’m from, my age, if I’m a student, what my major is) then she asks,

“Are those plugs in your ears? Because I don’t hire anyone with earrings.”

So, not even women? Or were you really referring to anyone?

“Oh, shoot. I guess I’ll be on my way,” I respond.

Maybe they will sew shut when you grow up and take them out” she tells me.

“I can take them out!” I offer as I take one out, resulting in it snapping in half.
“Oh no!” the lady says, “Sorry about your earring!” (Oh I’m sure…)
“That’s alright. It will glue together (they’re wooden)” I say back.
“Well Sam. I have a lot of these to go through. I will keep you in mind! Sorry again about your earring!”
“That’s okay, I’ll glue it back together” I say as I leave with to intention to ever return.

Now, why in the world would someone put me through all the trouble of applying, writing up a resume, and waiting for you to get off the phone for 15 minutes if you’re basically denying me and discriminating against my body modifications? I REALLY had to hold my tongue back on this woman. Also, why didn’t any of the employees say anything? Too scared? “Maybe they will sew shut when you grow up and take them out”? I’m 22 and just because I have my ears stretched that makes me a juvenile?

After that scenario, this lady certainly sounds like no one I’d like to work for. She sounds like someone who has her own insecurities about her body and forms of expression. Again, I will not give out her name nor her business as I believe in supporting a local economy.

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