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To: Robert Isom of American Airlines

Visible tattoos in the workplace

At American Airlines, body markings must be covered by their uniform, gloves and/or make-up to be in compliance with American’s brand and uniform standards. We currently live in an era where many forgo formal religious practices, body markings is but one way individuals express their religious and spiritual beliefs. I acknowledge that not all body markings are religious in nature. However, I do believe that for some individuals it’s a form of expression. Wether that be to mark adulthood, protective icons, statements of personal interests or signs of social affiliation these are all ways we can connect to our guests on a more personable level.

Body markings are not unique to our time, many indigenous groups use markings to express religious ideas. Traditional body markings on the inside of the wrist at the moment of baptism is a custom still being preserved among Coptic and Ethiopian Christians.

Today the process of acquiring a body marking parallels elements of traditional religious practice: choosing a marking, selecting an individual and a location on the body is a time of discernment; the physical pain approaches a penitential practice; their permanence marks a commitment; and the stories they tell, or the events they celebrate, create a narrative.

I’m asking that the current dress code policy allows for employees to work without the need of gloves or makeup to cover body markings that are not currently being covered by the current dress code.

Why is this important?

Body markings might not always be a direct manifestation of religiosity. However, for many people body markings are spiritual markers. You might see a male deer, a square, or even a word, but these represent something deeper to the individuals that bear them. The male deer symbolizes grace and spiritual enlightenment, a square representing strength and security, the letters they bear could be a name of a loved one. These body markings show how younger generations express themselves beyond skin deep and taking the time to understand them can expand the way we view and interact with individuals on a more personal level.



2023-02-16 14:09:00 -0500

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