A lot of people don’t realize how regulated the Human Resources industry is in the US. People who go into HR as a profession often think they are going into a "people" industry, when in reality they are going into a "policy" career.
HR folks are responsible not for the "human" part of the equation but the"resources" and the management of those resources. Yes, an HR Generalist or HR Manager does deal with employees, but usually only under specific circumstances such as reviews, onboarding as new employees, insurance enrollment, and sadly either in times of stress or exit interviews.
Being an HR professional means knowing a lot of different laws. Being a recruiter means knowing a lot of laws. Being a hiring manager, especially of a small business, means being responsible not only for those laws but also their execution.
Last night I was at a career panel with several other women, and one of them was expounding on her long career as a business owner and manager. She made a comment that startled me, being in the Northwest. She said that she doesn’t hire anyone with visible piercings and tattoos (other than pierced ears.)
I was also having this discussion over on LinkedIn in the Answers section. A Diversity specialist posted a question asking recruiters’ opinions on body art. Basically, I believe we have entered a period in history where body art is mainstream, it is a form of personal expression and the employer that doesn’t accept that loses out on the talent and creativity of the generation under 40 (and some of us over forty).
I believe that someday there will be legalization stating we cannot discrimminate based on body art. If this happens, I’m not sure if that is a bad thing or a good thing. But I believe that hiring professionals need to be cognizant of the realities of todays’ workers. The old prejudices are getting just that…old.