SCRANTON, Pa. (CN) – A Pennsylvania State Police recruit has made a constitutional issue of a tattoo. Ronald Scavone says the police refused to hire him, after he successfully completed interviews and a background check, because he refused to “physically alter (his) body” by removing a tattoo, which he says could be easily covered up with clothing.
“This case will answer the question of whether the government can require you to physically alter your body in exchange for employment,” Scavone says in his federal complaint.
He claims the State Police’s demand that he erase his tattoo violates the First Amendment.
He also claims that the police enforce that policy sporadically, at best. Many state police officers have tattoos and Scavone says he was not provided a written copy of the tattoo removal policy despite many requests. He also points out that tattoo removal “is an extremely painful and costly proves and has no guarantee of success in erasing the tattoo 100 percent.”
Scavone seeks declaratory judgment that the Pennsylvania State Police Tattoo Removal Policy unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. He also wants the job he was denied, and punitive damages.
He is represented Cynthia Pollick of Pittston, Pa.