Dear Rita: Our younger employees are increasingly decorated with ink and metal. Most of them conceal their "body art" while at work but in summer it's become more visible. We don't care about tattoos and piercing but we don't want to look at them, and we don't think our visitors do either. Is it legal for us to ban visible body art? -- Artless Old Fogey
Dear Artless: We're not surprised the issue has surfaced in your organization. A recent study found that about one-half of people in their twenties sport body piercings beyond their ears, and one-fourth of Americans between the age of 18 and 50 are tattooed (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 6/06). Visible tattoos and piercings can be legally regulated, but as you probably know, your employees may chafe at such rules.The cultural shift towards more body art sends a shout out to organizations that can't be ignored. If you are seeking to keep body art covered to present a more professional appearance, you should consider updating your dress code. In fact . . .