Monday, June 24, 2024

Body Art In The Work Place

November 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Arts & Crafts, Fashion & Clothing

Body art is everywhere and most people can name at least one person they know who has some kind of body work done. People with tattoos work in a variety of industries and hold entry-level jobs, as well as, top executive positions. Based on the number of new tattoo parlours and the number of people getting tattooed, this trend doesn’t appear to be slowing any time soon.

So, is body art a workplace issue? Does having a visible tattoo say anything about an individual that is relevant to his or her job?

According to survey, 85% of survey respondents believe that tattoos and body piercing impede ones chances of finding a job. They asked a few questions including:

1. Do you think that tattoos and/or body piercing hinder ones chances of finding a job? 85% answered Yes and only 15% – No.

Some of them left interesting comments:

“If you don’t have any tattoos or piercing you are more marketable.”

“It depends on the industry.”

“They won’t hinder ones chances as long as the person is smart and keeps them in places that an employer cannot see.”

2. How do tattoos and/or body piercing affect the opinions of co-workers and employers? Hinder said 64%, No Effect – 34% and Helped – only 2%.


“I know it hasn’t helped, however my job performance speaks for itself.”

“Regardless of who the REAL person may be, STEREOTYPES associated with piercing and tattoos can and do affect others.”

3. Do you conceal your tattoo(s) and/or body piercing(s) when at work? Yes – 53%, No – 47%


“I wouldn’t get tattoos that couldn’t be covered.”

“It depends on the job. At my day job in finance I keep my tattoos concealed. But at my night job as a booking agent I show them off.”

Reactions to tattoos in professional situations seem to be highly dependent on the specific industry and the employer. Even though tattoos are becoming more acceptable in the workplace, there are still some customer service industries that are concerned that employee with tattoos can affect their business (for instance, in retail they may startle children). These types of businesses should have a policy on tattoos and body piercing where they clearly explain the company rules. Employers with dress code or other grooming policies should review their policies frequently and make sure all managers are consistently enforcing the policies.

Can employees be forced to cover their body art during their shift? Talar Herculian, partner in one of the nation’s oldest and largest employment law firms said: “Yes. There is no right to expose your tattoo at work. However employers should be careful to apply their policy consistently to avoid the appearance of discrimination based on a protected category such as gender, race or religion. For example, if you require only men to keep their tattoos covered but allow women to keep their revealed because you think the women’s tattoos are not as offensive, your practice may be challenged as gender discrimination.”

When you are going to a job interview we recommend you to cover up tattoos and remove body piercing when interviewing. While dress codes have loosened, companies still expect candidates to look professional in an interview.

That is not the only reason why candidates should cover up their body art when interviewing; you do not want to distract an interviewer. People want interviewers to focus 100% on their qualifications and not be taken aback by their appearance.

While we should expect body art to gain further popularity and acceptance, we should remember that it does affect getting a job. So it is best to think twice before having it done. While times are changing not all things have, so plan your future body art. If you are entering a career field that recognizes and even appreciates artistic expression, you probably don’t need to worry about it. However, if you are applying for a customer service job, for example, it would be prudent to keep your artistic side to yourself.

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