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Old 10-23-2014, 11:32 AM
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Question Tattoos in the workplace?

There's a debate raging at the moment as a student teacher was asked to leave the school as she had lots of visible tattoos, and was asked to start later in the week after she'd covered them up.

The media are loving it what are your views?

Personally I feel it is discrimination based on looks, which to me should be illegal. Whether tattoos are chosen or not is irrelevant to me, and unless they are totally offensive or pornographic, I don't think a worker should be discriminated against for them.

I think it's as ridiculous as discriminating against someone who has poor fashion sense or a dodgy haircut. Maybe we should ban anyone with a mullet from the work place, or a comb over.

How you look has no baring on how you are as a person or how you can complete a job successfully. Tattoos are becoming increasingly popular, and the outdated associations are just that. Outdated.

Obviously if a person bares a tattoo depicting porn, racism/violence/association to those things, etc, then that is a separate issue.
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:39 AM
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Well what I personally think tattoos say about someone's competence as an employee (which can be summarized as "nothing at all") is different than whether I think employers should be allowed to enact and enforce a dress code that includes, among other things, no visible tattoos (which can be summarized as "yes they should".)
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:44 AM
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I also feel it's a pointless reason to fire someone... it's 100% based on looks. While I wouldn't agree it's in the same bucket as age, racial or other physical biases in the work place (as they chose to have tattoos)...it's still firing someone for their looks and not on job performance. Like you said, it's like firing someone for bad fashion sense or haircut...I understand some offices require a certain "professional" appearance and that involves tattoos/hair, I just think it's ridiculous.

AS LONG as the tattoos aren't offensive, pornographic or otherwise inappropriate for children...it should have no basis for firing or involvement on looking at their overall job performance.

Children aren't too young to see or be around people with tattoos, PEOPLE HAVE TATTOOS. That's life!

I used to kind of be one of those people that cringed a bit when I went to the doctor and he had visible tattoos... but I've grown to realize it really has NO basis as a judge of character. The days of tattooed people being ruffians and law breakers straight out of prison are pretty much over lol people get them for all kinds of reasons, doesn't mean they are inherently less than good at their jobs.

I hate the idea that people are required to so perfectly fit in this narrow "professional" cookie cutter idea in most work environments. We all wear the same clothes, hairstyles, body types...why?

TL;DR: I think policies involving tattoos and such are ridiculous and it's a ridiculous reason to fire someone. But I do know that for many companies/schools, it's policy. While I think the policies policing hair, tattoos etc.. are dumb, I don't think they shouldn't be allowed to have them.
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Old 10-23-2014, 11:45 AM
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I feel it is absolutely discrimination in the workplace, and I agree with you that unless the tattoo's are pornographic or otherwise offensive, it should not be something people can use as a way to 'rule out' who to hire.

I have a tattoo. But it is on my back and since I started at my job in the fall, it's been covered. I'm not sure what my Boss would think of it if it showed, but it's nothing derogatory.

My husband also has a tattoo, on his shoulder. It too has been covered since starting his job as an educational assistant, and is normally covered anyway as most t-shirt sleeves are long enough to 'hide' it.
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:03 PM
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I don't judge people based on what tattoos they may or may not have. I really don't care, i have friends from more than 50% covered to none and I like them all just fine Most are even still capable of being a contributing member of society.

I don't care who's views are antiquated or too progressive or whatever, but if a school, bank, hospital, landscaper, etc wants their employees to have a certain look and have what they deem a professional look, I don't see anything wrong with that either.
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Old 10-23-2014, 03:29 PM
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It can be very difficult in actual practice to clearly and in an unbiased way define what is appropriate versus what is inappropriate at the employee/employer level. Judges are not capable of defining what is "obscene" but we do know it when we see it. If you say it is OK to have "some" tattoos showing but not just anything and everything then it opens the doors to accusations of bias and unfair discrimination. Sally can have her "cross" tattoo but Billy can't have his "KKK" tattoo??? In a public tax dollar state funded organization (Public School for example) this can be especially problematic. Can a teacher have exposed tattoos? What can be allowed? Tough to regulate and enforce without making exceptions. That can't be a good, fair policy.

Might just be better to say - show no tattoos and nobody will be offended or fired. What else would work?

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Old 10-23-2014, 03:40 PM
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I live in an area where full sleeve and very visible tattoos are common. It always grosses me out when I see a waiter with his arms wrapped bringing my food. Id rather see tattoos then wonder if he has some festering problem under there.

That said, in a professional environment it can be harder to fraw the line. Is a religous tattoo ok? A tasteful nude? A military symbol? People can be offended by all of those
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Old 10-23-2014, 04:11 PM
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I love tattoos, and someday hope to have far more than the single one that I currently have.

However, I also acknowledge that in current society they're not always deemed as acceptable in a professional workplace. I don't necessarily agree with the decisions of the workplace, but within current social standards, I accept it as their right to deny employment, or employ with the conditions that the tattoos remained covered based on their wants.


It's discrimination sure, but certainly not in the same sense as homophobia, sexism, or racism.

Again, I don't agree that tattoos make one appear less professional, but I do agree with the rights of a workplace to deny someone employment based on their views on tattoos.

I do think though that we will see a change in views as the younger generation progresses and attains more power positions.
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozfozz View Post
I love tattoos, and someday hope to have far more than the single one that I currently have.

However, I also acknowledge that in current society they're not always deemed as acceptable in a professional workplace. I don't necessarily agree with the decisions of the workplace, but within current social standards, I accept it as their right to deny employment, or employ with the conditions that the tattoos remained covered based on their wants.


It's discrimination sure, but certainly not in the same sense as homophobia, sexism, or racism.

Again, I don't agree that tattoos make one appear less professional, but I do agree with the rights of a workplace to deny someone employment based on their views on tattoos.

I do think though that we will see a change in views as the younger generation progresses and attains more power positions.
^This pretty much.

I think it's fair to say that if you want a job in anything other than being a rock star, a tattoo artist, a hair stylist or any other profession that is a bit more lax, you probably shouldn't get hand/neck tattoos or tattoos that aren't easily covered up.

SHOULD we judge somebody's job capability by their appearance? No, but I think it shows... kind of poor judgement to permanently modify your appearance in a way you know could affect your job prospects (especially if you know you're getting into teaching) then expect people to accommodate YOUR personal choice.

And honestly... DUH it's a Catholic school, did she honestly think they were going to be acceptable? Students at Catholic schools wear uniforms, etc, and have their own set of rules themselves to follow. And whether it's right or wrong, these parents are paying good money for their kids to go to these schools and I guarantee you 99% of them would not want a teacher covered in tattoos and piercings. So it just kind of is what it is unfortunately.

The only thing I will say is the lady should have been told from the beginning she was not going to get this job, it seems they never implied the tats would be a problem?
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:44 PM
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While I don't agree with discriminating against someone with tattoos, I can understand why some jobs would not want visible tattoos in the workplace.

The woman mentioned in the original post was at a Catholic school, and so I can understand why tattoos would be deemed inappropriate for this environment. Also, to be fair, the school did hire her on knowing she had visible tattoos, so I wouldn't call it discrimination. I think they should have been more clear on their expectations that none of her tattoos can show, and I think she should have been wise enough to choose a placement where tattoos aren't in direct conflict with the beliefs of the school.
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