UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | April 23, 2024

OK for employers to enforce tattoo policy

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There are plenty of great reasons to get tattoos, but there is only one big reason to stay ink-free: You might have a hard time finding a job. 

A person is more unique for not having body art than having at least one tattoo in this day and age.

Any employer has the right to discriminate against tattoos because no one was born with them. Decking yourself out in body art is a choice, and the public is entitled to accept or reject the artwork on your body — employers included.

According to an article published on Chron.com, there are many cases where discrimination in the workplace is illegal and legal action can be taken. 

“If a company fails to hire you simply because of your ethnicity, race, religion or sexual proclivity, you have a discrimination case,” the article read. “However, tattoo and body piercing discrimination isn’t illegal.”

In short, it is illegal for a company to discriminate against sex, race and religion. It is also illegal to discriminate against disabilities. Tattoos and piercings, however, do not fall under this list because employers can enforce a dress code. 

People dress a certain way to manage what others think, and tattoos demonstrate the same purpose.

If a company desires to maintain or project a certain image, it may or may not include employees blasted in ink. People who have visible tattoos need to be tolerant of a company’s policy.

My current manager has a full sleeve. However, he wears oxfords and is able to maintain what our company deems professional appearance.

According to HelloGiggles.com, a woman was recently hired, fired and re-hired after her tattoo dilemma went viral. 

Claire Shepherd nailed a phone interview, and after the company discovered she had a hand tattoo, she was fired. Shepherd posted her story on social media. It went viral and was shared by plus-sized model Tess Holliday, who has many tattoos. The company decided it had made a mistake and gave Shepherd her job back.

“If the police force [is] allowed to show tattoos, then why are some companies still not allowing to show tattoos?” Shepherd said. “We are all individuals, and someone’s skin shouldn’t affect their employment.”

If you work in an industry that deals with people face-to-face, it is perfectly acceptable for employers to discriminate or promote tattoos, depending on the image they wish to portray.

I disagree with employers who enforce a tattoo policy when their business is conducted over the phone and there are no face-to-face interactions. Someone with tattoos he or she is unable to cover could be extremely proficient at his or her job and provide excellent customer service. If the customer on the phone had a dislike for tattoos, it wouldn’t impact the business because the customer would have no idea what the employee looked like.

However, if someone with a lot of body art were to work at Build-A-Bear Workshop and he or she has terrifying tattoos, that would be bad for business.

If you are thinking about getting a visible tattoo or have tattoos, seek employment in a company that is accepting of tattoo culture.