Tattoos In The Workplace

Most people have a view as to whether tattoos should be allowed, or are appropriate in the workplace. The most recent case involved a tattooed teaching assistant. She was told to cover up her tattoos and she has claimed that her employer has prejudiced her.

The army has recently decided that neck and hand tattoos are permitted as they have become more acceptable in society. The army has stated that tattoos in these areas have no bad effect on the job role which is why they have relaxed their tattoo policy.

The basic answer is that it depends on which sector you are working in. With more creative roles, the company may be more receptive to tattoos but those who are employed in a more formal or attend meetings with clients may not be.

Employers spend time and money building a reputation, which can then be bolstered by an image. If the company could be affected by that tattooed person, the company could have grounds not to employ that person or even to dismiss an existing employee if they have breached a policy specifically referring to tattoos.

Employees do not have a claim against being dismissed because they have a tattoo. However, if an employee has been employed for at least two years, they cannot be unfairly dismissed. If employers wish to bring in a policy relating to tattoos, they should bear in mind that existing employees may already have tattoos.

As an employer you can update your policy relating to dress code and tattoos. The position relating to tattoos should be readily available for employees to view. Things like whether tattoos should be visible, the size of the tattoos or whether particular (such as offensive) tattoos be prohibited.

As employee, if you are a tattoo fanatic and are unaware of your employers stance you should request in writing, or ask to view the dress code policy.

If you require any assistance on this matter, employer or employee, please do not hesitate to contact us.