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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gauging one's appearance

Dining at a fine fast food establishment known for their customer service and the founder’s high moral standards, it was noticed that the server had a rather large flesh colored earring. Looking closer, it wasn’t an earring, but a nickel sized plastic plug to close a hole in the server’s earlobe. It was interesting but soon forgotten. A week later, a HVAC technician arrived for a service call. The technician had the same kind of plug in his ear. Remembering the fast food server brought up the question-Are the earlobe plugs imposed by the companies or voluntary?

Called ear gauges, the devices are used to incrementally stretch a pierced hole in one’s earlobe to a desired size. The stretching is a form of body piercing and has grown in popularity over the last decade. Most people wear the gauge in the hole, while others wear larger, ornamental designs.

One’s ability to perform a job should not be based solely on their appearance. But employers can have policies in regards to image, professional attire, and safety in the workplace. These policies have to be equitably enforced and cannot discriminate against ethnic or religious appearances. The policies differ with how each company addresses and defines appearance.

In regards to ear gauges, an informal survey of local businesses found that they would not desire an employee with gauges. Citing the image that is presented would not reflect the image of the company. A few would not mind as long as the employee did not engage the public and there were no safety concerns. One would allow piercings but specifically had a policy against gauges.

That seems to answer the question about the employees seen with the flesh colored earlobe plugs. Businesses seem to be more tolerable about ear and facial piercings than they are with the gauges.

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