Discover Your Island

Dr. Brian Elzweig

Outstanding Islanders

Photo of Dr. Brian Elzweig

Legal Advice for America’s Corporate Workforce

Tattoos, body piercings, and tell-all social media pictures are what originally inspired Dr. Brian Elzweig to conduct his current research on the legal aspects of America’s corporate culture. Elzweig, Associate Professor of Business Law at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, recently published the article, “Tattoos and Piercings: Issues of Body Modification and the Workplace,” which focuses primarily on private employers, and examines the legal aspects of employment decisions that are based on the applicant having a tattoo, body piercing, or other body modification.

“I started doing this kind of research when I noticed that many of my students had postings on social media that may cause a hiring manger to think twice about the candidate,” said Elzweig. “I also noticed that there were many tattoos and piercings among the student population. It made me curious about how this may change their chances when applying for professional employment.”

According to the article, courts have consistently rejected public employees’ constitutional claims, the most common of which is that a tattoo or piercing is protected by the First Amendment provisions of freedom of speech or expression. Tattoos and piercings are considered to be mutable (alterable) characteristics; therefore, they do not automatically receive any special legal protection.

“My advice to young people entering the workforce is to start thinking about your career well before you start applying for jobs,” said Elzweig. “Things, like tattoos, that are permanent can have a lifelong effect on employment chances.”

The article, which he co-authored with retired Associate Professor of Management, Dr. Donna K. Peeples, appeared in the Society for Advancement of Management (SAM) Advanced Management Journal, Vol. 76, Issue 1. Elzweig’s work has also been featured by different media outlets including, The Huffington Post, The Dallas Morning News, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, to name a few.

Elzweig graduated from Georgetown University Law Center, California Western School of Law, and Florida State University. He came to the Island University in 2007 and has authored or co-authored more than 20 research articles.