Growing up, psychology senior Kenna Luzader was told if she ever wanted a good job, she couldn’t get body modifications like piercings or tattoos. But the stigma didn’t stop her, and Luzader now has seven tattoos in places from her ankles to her shoulders.
Her current workplace allows for self-expression, Luzader said, and she has more freedom than most when it comes to what she’s allowed to look like at work.
Over the years, many companies and businesses have become more tolerant in their employee dress code. The most recent among them is The Walt Disney Company, which is infamous for enforcing strict family-friendly codes.
On April 13, Josh D'Amaro, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products chairman, announced they would be taking greater steps toward inclusion in the workplace. One change is an updated employee dress code that allows for greater flexibility toward things like tattoos, hairstyles and jewelry.
“We’re updating them to not only remain relevant in today’s workplace, but also enable our cast members to better express their cultures and individuality at work,” D’Amaro wrote.
Carol Kumm, associate director of Career Engagement and Professional Development at the Lockheed Martin Career Development Center, said she thinks that it’s good for a workplace to be open and welcoming so employees can express themselves however they want.
In recent years, research has pointed to tattoos and nontraditional hair colors becoming more acceptable for some employers, Kumm said.
She believes that changing how employees can express themselves in the workplace will help create a more positive work environment where employees feel like they can be themselves.
Nursing sophomore Laura Mauldin said that although tattoos and piercings were once associated with gang activity, they’ve become modernized in recent years.
Mauldin has a tattoo of roses and music notes herself, and she said tattoos are an art form that shouldn’t be looked down upon. Because of this, she’s glad that Disney is taking steps towards inclusivity.
Luzader said the change in dress code at Disney Parks is something positive because it allows others to express themselves more. Through this, she hopes that people will stop being judged for their appearance instead of their work ethic.
Having a company as influential as Disney embrace workplace inclusivity will pave the way for other companies to do the same, she said.