Hiring Discrimination

Hiring Discrimination Against Tattoos And Piercings

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At a recent job fair, a woman approached my booth and asked me a question about hiring discrimination. She was a hiring manager from another company also exhibiting at the job fair, but she wanted to know about her son’s prospects for getting a job.

I talked to her about the type of work her son is interested in and asked some other questions. After chatting for a while, she told me that she knows her son has good qualifications, but he keeps getting turned down after the interviews. She then shared that her son has a large tattoo on his face. She asked me if I thought his tattoo might be hurting his chances of employment. I was honest with her and told her yes.

The reality is that hiring managers discriminate and they are totally within their rights to not hire someone with a facial tattoo (or piercing) that they believe would be offensive or inappropriate in their workplace or with their customers.

A lot of jobs require employees to be customer-facing and on client sites. Although tattoos and body piercings are becoming more mainstream, there are still many traditional workplaces that favor a more conservative look.

In fact, it’s very common for employers to have a dress code policy that may ban visible tattoos and piercings. Many employers also have policies that require employees to totally remove body piercings while in the office or cover tattoos with clothing and/or makeup.

There are a number of protected classes when it comes to employment law. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against candidates based on age, gender, disability, national origin, pregnancy and a number of other categories.

However, there are no current laws that prohibit discrimination against people with visible tattoos, body piercings, unnatural hair colors, unique hairstyles, and so on. There have been some grassroots efforts to make body art and body modification protected classes, but those efforts have not been successful.

While it may not be fair to discriminate against a tattooed or pierced person, it does happen.

In recent years, the number of people with tattoos and body piercings has increased significantly and we may see employers relax their standards in the future, but we’re not there yet. If you have tattoos and piercings and you feel they are an important part of your personality, make sure you find a workplace that’s accepting of them.


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75 comments

  1. I have applied for a law enforcement job in the city of Lexington and get turned down because the police department has a policy of no tattoos visible while in uniform. It’s not right and things need to change.

    • It is right. Tattoos are appearance and very unprofessional. I think it is funny that you expect to have your individuality and just have others roll over for your ugly scars. Give me a freaking break. You are smarter than that.

      • Save your self important smug vitriol for your children. “Give you a freaking break?” Nice cowardly sciolist attack…

        “I think it is funny that you expect to have your individuality and just have others roll over for your ugly scars.”

        What is funny is that you are not intelligent enough to discern the feeble minded nonsensical nescience of your own words… Do you even know what individuality means or do you contradict yourself intentionally? Never mind that question is rhetorical, the axiom of truth is in your own words.

        But let me break it down for you. A persons “individuality” is no ones business but there own. In other words it is none of your business if you have to “roll over” that is YOUR PROBLEM!

        • Exactly, it is no ones business. Just like it is no ones business who I hire. If a certain appearance costs my company in reputation, money or social structure etc… I have every right not to hire said person. You have your freedoms and I have mine.

          • I just want to ask a question. Lets say you have two people, one heavily tattooed and the other not. The heavily tattooed person is completely qualified for the job, meaning they are the perfect fit. This person came 10 mins before the interview and was perfectly polite. The person with no tattoos came late to the interview, didn’t seem to grasp what they were doing there and their credentials weren’t as high as the heavily tattooed person. Lets just say for the sake of argument that you needed to hire one of these people and fast. which person would you choose?

          • Based on your attitude David, I have a hunch that your company will eventually go under. The kids are the future and you need to embrace them along with all of their tattoos. These days it is more common to see someone with tattoos than to see someone with none. Get with the times or retire because my company has plenty of room for people with tattoos and your acts of discrimination will not be legal forever. Stop turning down perfect candidates because of your prejudice upbringing.

  2. Well you are all sadly mistaken I am afraid, my husband is HEAVILY TATTOOED. as are many of his colleagues. And I mean FULL BODY SUIT tattoos… and he is a paediatric anaesthetist. I too am heavily tattooed and have faced no such prejudices in the work place or university. ONLY FROM SMALL MINDED DAY TO DAY PEOPLE.
    Tattoos have always been a sign of rebellion, but in more recent years the tattoo has been a symbol of spiritual freedom.

    • Cheers to you! I as well am a career professional in a 6 figure high profile corporate technology consulting position. And I am tattooed. I am also a veteran. My tattoos are not an issue in any way. Nobody that I work with in a professional capacity even cares.

  3. No matter how nice someone thinks a tattoo looks on e.g. a woman, it spoils her look in a nice dress or her wedding dress – cheapens it and makes her look dirty. I think tattoos should not affect hiring if they are not visible and are covered during the working day particularly in an office environment. It definitely puts me off people who have tattoos. They also seem addictive. People have one then more and more. Seems to be a trend/fashion thing once again that many people regret.

    • That is just YOUR opinion. It may be shared by some, but certainly not all, or NO ONE would have tattoos… If what other people do with their own bodies puts YOU OFF. You need therapy, because it is exactly NONE of your business, and if you can’t accept or understand that than it is you with a social problem NOT the person with a tattoo.

      You know what they say about opinions…

    • They only regret if they got the tattoo drunkenly. Most people with tattoos of what they like, and have meaning behind it don’t regret it from the point on that the needle strikes their skin.

  4. I find this entry to be very interesting. I currently work in a professional atmosphere, speaking with doctors and patients on a daily basis giving nutritional council, and I have a number of tattoos and piercings. I also have a tendency to change my hair color drastically from time to time (bright pink!). I have my nose and lip pierced, and tattoos on my neck, arms, and feet. I believe it all depends on how you present yourself in the professional atmosphere, not necessarily whether or not you have tattoos and piercings. Every day I arrive to work in professional dress, my hair up and neat, and myself clean, ready, and prepared to go for the day. The practitioners and patients that I work with never comment badly on my tattoos and piercings, rather comment on how put together I present myself WITH them. I believe that as long as you understand when the appropriate time is to let your colors fly or cover them up and prove your work ethic overrules your image, you will do well in the workplace.
    Bottom line: be conscious of who your audience is and present yourself appropriately.

  5. Wow! There’s a great amount of unfair judgment going both ways on this discussion.

    First of all, the instinct to make snap judgments about other people based on their appearance is not necessarily evil. In fact, it’s . . . well . . . instinctual. It’s evolutionary. It’s something the human race has inculcated over the eons as a survival mechanism, and, believe it or not, we all do it. (Yes, even you “tattoo people”–someone else’s words, not mine.) We instantly recognize attractive (to us) individuals as a possible mate. We recognize policemen and policewomen because of their uniforms as people who can likely help us (or to run away from). We make subconscious judgments all the time about whether someone can or will do us harm, or whether we want to invest more time and/or attention in another person.

    Now, I’m the first to agree that the presence of tattoos and piercings in and of themselves are not necessarily an indicator of how well someone would perform a particular job, nor are they necessarily an indicator that someone is evil. But, at the same time, when someone’s appearance is a direct reflection upon their life choices, it does allow a little more room for judgement, especially if the very nature of the chosen bodily adornments is offensive to begin with. If I were a powerful woman, for example, managing a successful business that markets primarily to other powerful, successful businesswomen, would I really be inclined to hire a man with very demeaning, even pornographic images of women all over his arm? I would very likely be correct in my assumption that this man has little respect for women in general beyond their sexual attractiveness. This is not being “judgmental.” This is being intuitive. This is inferring plausible conclusions based on the evidence presented.

    • Judgement is judgement…. Regardless the motivation, or rationalization. As is “Circular Reasoning” a logical fallacy that does not withstand the rigors of First-Order logic. Ergo “…a man with very demeaning, even pornographic images of women all over his arm?” is not a logical reasoning as it is obvious that pornography of ANY kind is not acceptable in the workplace. but where this rationalization fails is that this is NOT an indicator of a persons character… If it is than there are countless religious relics and iconography worldwide that should indicate religion should be banned from existence. Morality is subjective, ethics are not. Tattoos can be covered… To a degree. However, please consider the cultural practice of tattooing among the Maori and many other polynesian peoples… Their practices of tattooing is a great honor, and identifies the best of the best in their society… If one of them were to apply for any profession in which they are qualified only to be discriminated against because of tattoos is patently WRONG, and should be illegal.

      There is a distinct difference between the tattoos of criminals, and everyone else, and since this is a rational truth of our society a “good” and well qualified HR professional MUST know this or they are not “good” at their job.

  6. Does the tattoo bearing person have the qualifications for the job? Look past the cover and allow the person to prove they can do the job. If they do not do the job well, they do not get to keep the job. With the exception of customers of the employer declining to do business with the employer if their employees bear tattoo’s, then the tattoo’s are not relevant, the ability of the person to do their job is. Simple

  7. If you have a tattoo on your face, you are quite simply, STUPID. The moment one makes a decision to do such a thing, is the moment they decide to turn their back on a professional career.

  8. Employear also need to remember that some tattoos can be covered while the employee is at work. Personally if this is the case and if it does not violate religious beliefs id hire if the tattoo could be covered for work.

  9. This argument is interesting. A persons personal choice vs. a business choice regarding image. This can not be compared to someone’s race or sexuality and the discrimination that is unlawful against those protected classes. The difference is choice. People who are discriminated because of race and the like had no choice; those with tattoos and piercings had and made a choice. It is a business decision. If you are applying for a job selling something or as a consultant or many other white collar jobs, you will be judged by the customers and collegues by your appearance and if your appearance includes a skull tattoo on your neck, a piercing through the bridge of your nose or heaven forbid, a tear tattoo under your eye do not expect a company to hire you to be the face of their company to their customers and collegues. I personally find it difficult to take someone seriously when they look like they slammed their face into a tackle box that morning. There are tattoos that are more acceptable. I work in an office with a gentleman who has numerous tattoos. Each and everyone of his tattoos represent something in his life. He has numerous Navy tatttoos on his arms as well as tattoos devoted to his family on his chest. There are no skulls or spider webs on his elbows or anything else disturbing.

    • I think that is a very reasonable approach to body modification. Some tattoos are art, and some are just retarded. I only have a couple of tattoos, but they are very tasteful, and I spent a lot of money working with artists to get them sketched and done properly ( I DESPISE flash art and people that put generic or trendy things into their skin just because they can ).

      I think people should make a conscious choice when getting a tattoo on if it would be offensive, but at the same time, I think that people who see tattoos and automatically assume things about the person are mistaken. Ex: Two guys with full sleeve tattoos walk into my office. One has a sleeve full of gang signs, vulgar images, mostly-naked ladies. etc. The other has a something resembling Van Gogh’s Starry Night on his arm. It is pretty clear these are two VERY different people who just happen to both have tattoos.

    • It may not be your choice of what race or gender your born in to so yes it is lawfully incorrect to reject someone because of this. But as of the REC (recruitment Employment Confederation) it is also lawfully incorrect to reject someone who is transgender and who has had body modification to change their sex. So this is NOT something your born with, it is a choice, a freedom of will as it getting a tattoo, which in most cases are personal and explain life history so this too should not be discriminated against. To end I have over 40 tattoos and I currently work in business development for recruitment and I tell you now, having ink on my hand, like might I say do many asians have as belief and religion, does NOT make me under perform on the phone or in meetings. Rant over.

  10. I’ve got loads of tattoos including a full sleeve, and 3 on my hands. If I went for a job interview. It shouldn’t matter as long as I could do the job needed. If they want me to cover-up I wouldn’t take that job, it would be their loss not mine. Ink yourselves up and be proud of who you are.

  11. A lot of this issue revolves around “having your cake and eating it, too”. You want to be a rebel? Great!…Go be a rebel; just understand that there are consequences….that’s what you wanted, right? I mean, isn’t it really about pissing off mainstream society?

    If you want to be a highly individualistic and “outside of the mainstream” kinda’ guy, you can’t turn around and say…”but I also want you to pay me lots of money to be part of your team-oriented business”…. it doesn’t work that way.

    I mean, if you expect people in a business environment to look at your neck tattoo and think “there goes a person who makes good decisions”… you’re in for a rude awakening, my little babies.

  12. You tattoo people have to live by the sword and die by the sword. You flaunt your individuality and yet want hirers to cede their individuality. What shocks me the most is that many people get tattoos without realizing the ramnifications down the line. It is appearance that happens to be permanent. You can change your hair style, your body odor or your lousy clothes to perform better recruiting for future jobs. Unfortunately tattoos are hard to change. You can not have it both ways tattoo people. I would suggest temp tattoos.

    • Like I said, if someone doesn’t want to hire me because of some attribute, then I am blessed not to work with that person and company.

    • “You tattoo people”? I didn’t realize having a tattoo made somebody a part of a clan. The older generation and their xenophobia and inability to keep up with the changing world are the real problem here, not some ink in a person’s skin. Grow up. Being obese is an “acquired” trait and you don’t see people getting turned down for jobs because of it when they are professionally qualified for a position. Why the double standard? If people are more focused on micromanaging their employees to this extent, then obviously they are not very focused the actual business. I don’t want to work for a company not focused on its business. That’s a ship ready to sink.

      • Xenophobia is race. You grow up. You tattoo folk crack me up. You act all individualistic but can not respect hirers individual rights. Hypocrites. We all jusge appearance. It is called life. Since tge beginning of time we judge on mates, businesss. Etc. Just because you people were irresponsible , does not give you the right to tell me not to judge appearance. You have to live with your sheep mentality.

        • Xenophobia is an irrational fear of something unknown. Irrational being the key word there. Your cynicism does not help your point either, you are entitled to an opinion, but that does not make it logical.

          You are 100% correct in that an employer can choose to not hire those people. I actually just turned down a job offer recently because the employer told me I would need to remove my earrings in the office, and I didn’t feel that was even remotely related to the work I would be performing.

          Frankly, it told me right away that the management was going to micromanage, that they stuck with old ways of thinking, and that rarely changed how things ran, even if they were a problem. Yuck, no thanks. I did, in fact, judge them.

          If I was to work in a place where my piercings could be of health or safety issues, that is reasonable and rational request to remove them. Most of the time, the reasons for not hiring based on piercings/tattoos are completely irrational.

          If employers would like to hire people on how they look vs what kind of job that person is doing, that is their prerogative. I am positive they overlook and dismiss a lot of talented people in doing so. Your company being no exception.

          • We agree to disagree. Tattoos tell me alot and none of it good. It tells me that people do not look at the longterm and just follow a whim, created by the Hollywood crowd. Yes, I know tattoos have been around a long time and I get that. I still think that the people that get them nowadays are sheep and usually, not all of the time, are smokers as well. There is an insecurity, a follow the crowd thing going. Unlike most other fads, this one will fade as we will go back to only criminals and a military person getting them. Even the military is trying to limit the tattoos.

        • Your mentality cracks me up. Those that serve this country to allow dump a$$ people like you to type on your keyboard have tattoos so tell that to them! Its not irresponsible, its a choice! It is no different than judging black from white or fat from skinny. You simple can NOT judge a book by its cover.. Though by you comment I will judge you as a incompetent ignorant tool that needs to get ou of the 1920s! Your probably the guy hiring all the illegals vrs a legal citizen over a d— tattoo.. how sad,.

          • I know military people that hate tattoos. Alot of it , even in the military is that frat boy crap. It does not make them look any better. By the way, even the military is wanting the recruits to have less tattoos or to cover them. Please spare me the military stuff. The military is just a microcosm of this country. The military fight for my right to make money in a capitalist society. Tattoo people cost me profits.

        • The sheep are the people like yourself who life their “lives” to please other sheep. You cut your hair and dress like a clown and say yes a master like a puppet because you are to d— scared to be who you are, if you even know who and what your brainwashed ignorant mind has enslaved you to be.

          • Actually, I own my business and my hair is longer than normal for a guy. You make false assumptions. I will tell you this. I prefer my hair length, but when I had to get certain jobs in the past, I made sure my hair was cut to a corporate length. That is the way life is. You tattoo folk, box yourself in a corner and even if you have to cover the tattoos, you have to wear long sleeve shirts in the hottest weather. I would hate it, if I had to do that.

        • My son is in the Navy. His full back piece is almost complete. It isn’t visible under his uniform. He asked his CO about rules & regs of visible tattoos, and was told that as long as they were in good taste and not overly large, it wasn’t a rule-breaker. Husband works where men must have the usual 50′s haircut, well trimmed mustaches are the only facial hair allowed, no tats for men or women even if they’re not visible (don’t know how the employer checks that out, especially on the females), men’s jewelry: only watches, women’s jewelry: only one set of earrings (studs, no dangling), no bracelets, only one necklace if it stays under their uniform,conservative hairstyles. Hubby plays by the rules. He’s happy to have a job at all.

          I agree that employers don’t have an obligation to hire people with visible tattoos or extreme piercings. If we have the right to have art on our bodies, they have the right to reject us. Sadly for them, they miss out on some very unique, original, intelligent and hard working candidates. Tats only for criminals and sailors? Anyone who says tats are only for “sailors & criminals” is an ignorant big mouth and degrades my Navy son, who has more guts than the people throwing out such disrespect. How have you all served your country? For those with more than one brain cell working, think about it, ignorant jerks. Tats have moved way beyond the criminal population. I’m 58 yrs old, have a few visible tats, some are visible,others are not. I have 12 ear piercings. I have fairly typical 58 year old appearance, don’t think I look like a sailor or criminal. Some people who know me tell me they wish I were their child’s grandma.

          I disagree (which is permitted in this country) that getting body mods is a bad life choice. Who gave you the right to question life choices? I waited 20 years before getting my first, and several years between tats. They all mean something to me, not just ink in my skin, though if that’s your position, fine. I wouldn’t socialize with someone who judges me by pics on my skin, meaning I wouldn’t care to know you; because of attitude, not skin.

          • “You tattoo people”? What about you prejudiced, judgmental people? What if you made an acquaintance/friend, then found out they were tattooed? Just curious. It’s one thing to decide not to get tattooed, or not like the way they look. It’s another thing to put ALL people who’ve made a life choice into one cauldron, stir, and say “not one of these people rise to the top.”

            Some of us “flaunt” our individuality, some of us keep it private. One of my daughters-in-law has a lower back tattoo (not a “tramp stamp”, which I also think is an ignorant judgment). Her tat was not visible in her gown. Another son is marrying a wonderful girl with one full sleeve, which will show in a strapless gown. My son has a few visible tats, and some on his chest and side. So are they criminals or sailors? Nobody’s cares what you think, especially not my son or future DIL, certainly not me. We won’t send you pictures.

          • The attorney who handled my aunts’s and father’s estate was visibly tattooed (hand and wrist, don’t know about any others. The doctor (neurological specialist) who did my disc replacements was tatted (arm, wrist hand). Several of the nurses I’ve met in doctors’ offices or while hospitalized are tattooed (neck, arms, wrist, hand, ankle). Maybe they got their positions while they werwn’t tattooed. Whichever…they were EMPLOYABLE, on the job and doing their jobs well as was I when I was employed 25 years ago (25 YEARS AGO!) before I made the choice to be a stay at home mom.Surprise! None us were sailors and/or criminals. (I can’t get the “sailors” judgment out of my head, with my son having the guts to join the Navy, possibly protecting our right to free speeh.I’d love to hear what’s wrong with being a sailor, and/or their bad life choice in getting tattooed, vs. making the choice to join the Navy.) A common “sailor” tattoo is “Hold Fast”. Look it up. The origins are historical. Will you look it up? I doubt it. You might learn that sailors aren’t as low class as you and others seem to think>

            Final point: I’m not fond of the word “sheep”,but I can agree to disagree with anyone who uses that word. To me a sheep is the animal from which we obtain wool, but it’s also a word that some refer to use when defining certain kinds of people. Judgmental? I won’t make that decision for anyone else.

            I take this very seriously. My excuse for the length of my post. Especially the “sailor” part. My son is giving at least 6 years of his life in military service. How many anti-tat people here have committed to at least 6 years of service to anything?

          • Ok an occasional attorney or doctor might have a tattoo. My money is still on the convicts and fry cooks that have a higher percent of people with tattoos.

      • Actually, obese people ARE turned down for jobs, some being because attractiveness is an understood aspect of that position (Hooters, Cocktail waitress, Bartender (trendy or limited space behind the bar) and anything requiring physical longevity without worrying about the person having a heart attach an hour into the day. Additionally, the are prejudices as well– that if the person isn’t going to care about themselves, WHY would they care about their job performance? While a single-digit minority may be obese because of a medical condition, as you said, it’s a CHOICE. And a bad one. Therefore that tells an employer about their decision making process. While it’s longer to attain, it still limits their prospects for work and spouses. Should men or women be forced to marry people they find unattractive? While “looks aren’t everything” it way different for a person to fall in love with an average looking person on up, then it is if the person is obese. Back to the tats, I do agree that it should matter on WHAT and WHERE the job is. If I walk into a 5-star restaurant with a business client, I would not expect the waiter or waitress to have neck or face tattoos. I would certainly not want the same for a shop manager or even clerk who is servicing our buyers (mostly 45-60 year old suburban women). I would never stop being friends with someone or NOT be friends with someone because of tattoos, but they would cost me customers so I certainly wouldn’t hire them. Only if drunk or completely lacking foresight would a person not realize that getting certain visible tattoos or piercings are going to limit job prospects, and if it’s the latter, I wouldn’t want them working for me either. If you arrive at a job interview with face-ink, assumptions will be made, if in heels and a micro-mini-skirt, assumptions will be made (and if a male hires her then assumptions about HIM will be made by other staff), and if a person arrives looking sloppy, assumptions will be made, or if wreaking of body odor, again, assumptions will be made. As someone else said, making assumptions is based on a “survival response” of instinct, which also spills over to every-day matters.

    • Its 2013, not 1745… Get over it! All you religious freaks “John 7:24 – Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
      Work ethic and attitude/ professional attitude and skills should be all there is to this. Its discrimination no matter how you slice it! What if I do not like your religion, haircut, car, political stance, etc., doest that justify a valid competent candidate? I would say no. Old think will die with the old, new thinking will open new doors.

      • I am an atheist and I will judge by appearance anytime I like. It is called life. We all do it. I will hire people that will help my business look the classiest and make me the most money. End of story. If tattoos are so high class, how come attorneys make those on trial cover them ? Seriously, get all the tattoos you want and I will think they are all ugly. That is my right .

    • you tattoo people shows you are hateful and ignorant…….my 3 tattoos only one of which is visable does not take away my intellect or my skills…..all of my tattoos are original drawn out by myself i have a very small tattoo of the stars and moon on my face that is often compliminted. recently i was denied employment for this tattoo….i not being ignorant offered to cover it up at work and. was still denied…..if i had coveted it before the interveiw im sure i eould have been hired…..looking forward to confusing ignoramuses like you as i further my job search.

      • You are not intelligent. You do not know how to use punctuation and you do not know how to capitalize the beginning of sentences and that the word ‘I’ is supposed to be capitalized. Self proclaimed intelligence does not count. I do not care what year it is, I think tattoos are gross and low class. Again, if they were such high class, how come attorneys make their clients cover them during trials. I emulate success , not failures or the latest Hollywood trend. By far , the highest percent of people that have tattoos are those in the lowest socio-economic classes and of course inmates.

      • You are really not helping the cause of those with tattoos with your post. Claiming you are intelligent, but then being unable to form a cohesive sentence shows that you are not. Being able to draw a tattoo yourself makes no guarantee that it is original, beautiful, or creative, and placement is just as important as the piece. I have many tattoos, including a full sleeve, but I will never get a piece on my face, that is asking for problems. Your denial for employment may not be as related to your tattoo as you think, judging by the 4th grade level English in your response.

        Enjoy your ink, but don’t shove it down others throats, you only upset and polarize people against tattoos by doing this. Don’t hinder the progress to a more open-minded society.

  13. Would this, or could this be applied to multiple ear piercings? I have 8 in now, and my “normal” first hole is empty, bc I can’t find another pair of studs that I have. I just don’t think my ears would look better without them bc there would just be 4 empty holes, that I doubt would close up so quickly bc I have had them for over 10 years. I know it doesn’t look the most professional, but it’s not like I have 3 pairs of hoops dangling along with my Cartilage and rook (I can’t get that one out!). Any opinions?

    • It’s interesting. When we court people in relationships, we are told to be ourselves and to accept people for who they are. At first their might be pretense, but for anything to last, the truth must be bared. YET, with careers, we are expected to change ourselves to suit someone else’s wishes, to often be who we are not or cover-up who we are. Even in the act of writing résumés, it’s all about accomplishments. Thing is, not everyone is an ambitious CEO type or has the opportunity to make impacts that some prospective employer would look on favorably, which can lead to embellishments. I’ll say it again, any employer that wants someone to change their appearance or behavior is a relationship that won’t work out in the long run. Why go there?

        • Exactly and will take it a step further that we judge how our date is dressed, hygiene, hair etc. Tattoos are appearance and no different than any other type of appearance, other than the fact it is permanent. You can not spin it any other way as tattoo folk does. I do find it amusing and ironic that tattoo person gets these ghastly things to be individual and then can not accept the individuality of others. I had a tattoo person mock my hair and I actually said I can always cut my hair but they are stuck with those things forever. They are the nastiest and most judgmental people. What hypocrites.

  14. I used to know a guy in radio sales who was covered in tattoos. Really surprised me when we when we went out after work. He normally wore long sleeve shirts and you couldn’t tell. On the other hand I interviewed at the hip neighborhood development group and I was asked three times if I had a tattoo. I think that no was the wrong answers.

  15. The problem with many tatoos is they are neither discreet, attractive or even unique. They are monochrome “tribal” or barbed-wire which presents a “I have not taken a bath in …. months” appearance. I know one person bearing tribal tats who wears them well; he is a large, muscular, dark skinned, dark haired, young man of Hawaiian/Samoan descent.

    • It really is up to the employer. I could see someone objecting tattoos or other body paraphernalia if the position was a sales position or something external customer facing, but again, would you work or want to work for someone that would discriminate based on some attribute you have? I would say no, so it works out for all involved.

      • I was once told I’d “go far in this organization” if I adjusted two of my “attributes” (remove an ear-ring, let my hair grow a bit). I adjusted the attributes. Was I being discriminated against? No. The attributes were choices that I made to effect my appearance, so are tatoos.

        • And what else would you give up or do to get ahead? It’s like being a rat. Once you do it, you’re finished and an employer like that will find something else to nitpick tomorrow.

          • Give up or do? I’d wear the corporate uniform (e.g.white shirt with tie) if one was required but I was unable to parrot a corporate standard voice mail announcement, or greeting when answering the phone. That did get me into some warm water, and I’d probably draw the line at brown shoes and belt with my black/gray suits, or slacks. I cherish my individuality but the ear-ring was more of a gag (because I was once told I’d look good with one but never have the guts to actually do it) and the short hair was to prevent it being pulled, and that I have “naturally curly hair” which tends to look rather unkempt when long.

  16. There is discrimination of all kinds, whether we like it or not, or whether it is legal or not. The attitude of most hiring managers is preference is to be given to those without tats or piercings. I personally do not have either and do not care for them. If one is going to be tatted or pierced, it is best to plan on going into business and self-employed.

    • Some companies actually require tattoos and piercings, like the local bagel store. Something different. That said, making such a blanket statement is ridiculous. If I never wore a short sleeved shirt, you’d never know.

  17. Tattoos are piercings are indeed choices, and if they can’t be covered up or hidden, they’re very bad choices. They reflect the poor judgment of the person who has them, and therefore would keep me from offering that person a job. Only if I were having problems filling a position would I give a person with exposed tattoos or facial piercings (simple earrings being the exception) consideration..and that’s not been a problem lately!

    • I agree. Tattoos are choices. The thing is, would you want to work for a company that discriminates based on some characteristic or behavior you have? I wouldn’t. It’s good to know who the idiots are, even in cases where there is a protected class.

        • Well said. I am shocked so many people are so stupid nowadays and get into that sort of thing. All because of their favorite athlete or rock star. It is a joke, but the joke is on them. Mr. Famous is set financially for life, but they are not.

    • AJ, if you had problems filling a position it could be that the pay is too low for anyone to want it, or the job is undesirable, your company is undesirable, or many other reasons. I have exposed tattoos and I’m not a “kid” or even a young adult. My tattoos are not “poor judgment” on my part, as I knew exactly what I was doing. Your bigotry and intolerance is “poor judgment” on your part, something that luckily be changed, if you don’t want to be bigoted. I do agree that if you have a company, you have every right to set standards for your employees. If you hire someone with tattoos for a job you have “problems filling”, it may not be covered under the law, but it does seem to me to be discrimination. You’re in effect saying that the tattooed person is “less than” the other employees because he/she is being given the sh*t job. Also, if one employee can have tattoos, why can’t the others?

    • You opinion is exactly that: yours. They are choices, yes. Are they bad choices? That is not for anybody to decide except the person who got them. You ever consider that some people like them or find them attractive or suiting on people? Why are women only allowed to wear earrings? Some Hindu religions REQUIRE men and women to wear facial jewelry to show marriage or family status. Are you going to discriminate against them for it? Calling body art poor judgement just shows you are narrow-minded and ignorant. Hop off your high horse and try a more reasonable approach to your hiring. I bet you are over-looking lots of talented people for highly superficial reasons.

      • We all judge. We judge who we date, what we buy based on packaging and what restaurants we eat , based on ambiance. To deny that is being simple minded. Since the beginning of time employers have told employees to cut hair, wear better clothes, etc. or they would not hire these people that made these choices. They either adjusted or not. Unfortunately, tattoos , for the most part are permanent. That was a conscious decision one made. It is not fair to expect an employer to sacrifice credibility,business class, and most importantly profits, because one makes an individual appearance decision that is permanent. People should have foreseen that their appearance can affect their life in an adverse way. It is not rocket science, in fact it is common sense.

  18. I am not sure it is unfair or discriminatory, after all a tatoo is a choice. There are companies that do not hire smokers and it is a condition of employment with the company. I personally have no issue with tatoos or piercings, but as the article implied, if your face is the first impression of the company, the company has a right to assure they are finding the proper representation. As I tell my students…you have the right to express yourself and the employer has the right not to hire you if they do not care for that self-expression.

  19. You never know how people will react. Best to cover if you can. I worked at an organization for two years when one night I was wearing a short sleeve shirt and a co-worker saw my tattoos on my upper arms. It affect our relationship due to her preconceptions. Oh well. I had known her two years.

    On another topic: Facial hair. Do employers judge people differently if they have any facial hair?

    • I don’t know that it’s as prevalent as discrimination against tattoos and piercings, but I’m sure there is some discrimination against facial hair, particularly if it’s trimmed in an odd shape or there’s an excessive amount.

      • The company my husband works for requires either a well-trimmed mustache or clean shaven face. No hair covering the ears or collar. Women may have 1 piercing in each ear (lobe) and only wear studs, not dangling earrings. They cannot wear excessive jewelry either (charm bracelets, more than one necklace, etc.). Nothing to do about it. The company has rights and if the employees don’t like them, they’re shown the door and wished well on their job search.

  20. I agree – hiring managers will discriminate. Unfortunately as much as we would like this not to be true, they will discriminate against good employees, even regarding the protected classes.

    The only way to beat discrimination of any kind is to have a conversation. Not an interview, not a phone screen, but an honest open conversation prior to discussing any job. A good conversation can dissolve the potential for discrimination prior to the interview if you are willing to be honest and get to know the other person. They may get to like, care, trust, even respect you enough to look past what some could consider any possible discrimination.

    • Nice guys finish last. It does not matter how much I like someone. If a potential employee appearance is detrimental to my business model and will only cost me profits, I will not hire that person…PERIOD.

      • Please post your company so people will know to NEVER apply to work for you. Have fun choking on your dollar bills. You sound like a horrible, greedy, pissed off old man. Very sad. PERIOD.

      • Seems to me that your business would soon be a flop as you’ll eventually run out of potential employees due to the vast majority of the public now packing tattoos, piercings, and trendy hair cuts. I’ve been blessed enough to travel the world and meet many wonderful people along the way. Many of whom that are littered with tattoos are also very successful, charismatic, extremely brilliant, and personable(which definitely brings in good business). Perhaps you’ve had a bad run in with someone tattooed and it left a bad taste in your mouth, which is a pity. There are people with our without tattoos that lack couth. My legs, arms, back and neck are tattooed. However, when I walk into a court room, a job interview, or even church…I certainly have the decency and respect to wear slacks, a nicely ironed collar shirt, and my hair down. I understand that some people are offended by my “loud” body art. Which, I will certainly understand and respect their opinion but I hope that it would never offend someone enough to dislike me for WHO I am. It hasn’t so far, which I’m grateful for. I care a great deal about everyone I meet. However, if they chose to not like me for what I chose to do on my own accord that does not harm them in any way…well, then they aren’t someone I’d like to have in my life.

        Someone once asked me “Who do you think is the greatest artist is in all the universe?”
        I ask “Who?”
        He said “God. He didn’t create your beautiful vessel for you to ruin it.”
        I said “You’re right, he did create our beautiful vessels. He also created our free will and creativity that we are very blessed to have.”

        The practice of medicinal plants was once considered “witch craft”. It has now become one of the most highly respected skill. Our tattoos are being frowned upon as if it is “witch craft”. You know that in the military, chiropractic practices are considered “which craft”? Isn’t that a shame? Our up and coming generation is presumably going all have tattoos on them. Will it wait until the discriminating business can’t find anyone to employ due to tattoos when it finally becomes more accepting?

        I typed all this for my fellow tattooed brothers and sisters to not feel alone. Not to change your opinion on things. Clearly, flexibility is not one of your stronger suits. Or perhaps you’re just a troll…

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