Illustrated Teacup

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Thursday, 17 July 2014

TATTOOS: In the workplace

Its hardly an uncommon sight these days. The little pink rose peeking  behind a strap or the Chinese symbol of love, or soup, depending on the artist, on a persons ankle. 

But yet again these little tokens of our past are hitting the news. 

This story was everywhere last week. So I just had to comment. 

Anyone who has read this blog before, has looked at my about page, or knows me personally, will know I have a number of tattoos, ranging little ones of made of a few lines, to an entire sleeve. 

And yes, I work full time. And fortunately my workplace has a relaxed view to tattoos. Though this wasn't always the case. When I first had my sleeve done I had to wear a blazer or cardigan all day as the policy was NO visible tattoos. This was relaxed about 18 months ago to no offensive tattoos. Not going to lie, I was pleased.  However I do ensure I have something to cover up with in case of special guests. Though as I've had a full conversation and approval from my bosses bosses boss about five times higher than  me, I think I'm OK.

I think the biggest thing for me with tattoos in the workplace is whether you are customer facing and what your industry is. 
I was a bar manager for over a year. I was definitely customer facing. But it was basically a night club. I didn't cover up.
I'm currently office based with no customer facing.  I don't cover up.

It's important to remember that if you want a certain job, you have to respect the outward image that the managers and directors want. 

There is no discrimination policy for tattoos. They are at the end of the day a choice. Discrimination against gender,  race or religion is against something they cannot control or have a choice in changing. 

There is no law protecting employees from being dismissed or not being engaged for work because they have a tattoo.
In addition the Equality Act expresses that tattoos are not protected from disability discrimination as a severe disfigurement.
It states: 'Tattoos and body piercings are not severe disfigurements that are treated as having a substantial adverse effect on the ability of the person concerned to carry out normal day-to-day activities.'

If you choose to have a tattoo, you choose to take on the risks that come with them.

What do you think about tattoos in the workplace?
Do you or would you cover up for job?


  1. I also have a 'number of tattoos' including a sleeve, my employers have a strict 'no visible tattoos or piercings' policy, I am a sales manager for a big corporation and I do respect the fact that they don't want them on display as we (the employee) do represent the company. In an ideal world it would be great if all workplaces relaxed policies on visible tattoos as I believe there are a lot of people unemployed because of their choices of having tattoos.

    1. Thank you for your comment.
      I totally agree with you. It would be great for society to be able accept tattoos evem at work. Perhaps one day xx

  2. It's a strange thing. I have tattoos but no one in my work place knows. I'm not sure how well it would actually go down tbh. There's a few that have tiny ones, that you can hardly notice, but I have two large-ish arm pieces that are obvious from the get go.

    At the same time, I started my job with white hair and have since then had pink. red. blue, green, orange... I checked with my boss first. I asked him, did he mind if I went ahead and dyed my hair red (but possibly pink) and he ok. I think he thought I was joking... Since then, it's been ok. Although, I'm still "not the norm" here in Belgium and the judging can get quite out of hand.

    If there is no strict policy, then I think you should be free to do as you please. I know at the end of the day, I'm a really good scientist, I'm smart and I worked really hard to get where I am and am one of my bosses best phd students - tattoos and orange hair included.

    Once people have seen past it, I think it's better. Shame people can't just see past a personal choice. Considering some of the nicest people I have met and the most helpful in terms of customer service have been modified people.

    1. I totally agree. I asked my boos before my sleeve if it would be a problem. I kept it covered until they relaxed the policy but even now I keep a cardigan or a blazer at work just in-case. But my director likes them so I can't be going far wrong.
      Just a shame that some people can't see past them for customer facing roles.


  3. I worked at Harrods for a few years and they were extremely strict on covering tattoos.
    I remember having to run to the MAC concession to find a good concealer when a fellow concession manager hired someone and then noticed a tattoo on the back of his neck...which btw was only visible when he looked down as his collar hid it. It was ridiculous

    1. OMG that is insane. But somewhat unsurprising. Bet that was his first experience of concealer too! Ha ha



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