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Thread: Should employers be able to discriminate based on tattoos?

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    Default Should employers be able to discriminate based on tattoos?

    Bit of a more light hearted debate, but considering I plan on getting inked up pretty soon, I figured I'd bring it up. Basically, I don't really get why it's an acceptable form of discrimination. Unless the tattoos are blatantly obscene or offensive, there should be no problem. The fact that some customers might find them unsightly and not give their business is a bunk rationalization to not hire people for visible tattoos. Whether other people find then unsightly isn't my problem, and if your entire business is going to go up in flames because some people that hate tattoos aren't giving you their money anymore, your business probably sucked and wasn't going to go far anyway. You can find tons "unsightly" stuff about people but we don't discriminate against someone because their gawdy dark purple lipstick and green eye shaxow is aesthetically unpleasing. Also, just because body modifications are a choice isn't a good reason to discriminate against either, obviously, or else we'd be discriminating against religious people, which is a no no as far as I'm aware.

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    I dont think that would be good.

    I mean, if you have a tattoo so huge it has a chance to frighten customers, it might be an issue, but otherwise, I really fail to see the possible harm in having somebody with a tattoo work at any place.

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    I always figured it was 'acceptable' because it was your choice, not something you're born with.

    That being said, its kinda the same thing of why you dress up nice-it looks professional. Also, I think most places allow it if it can be covered.
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    If the owner of the business wants to set his employment standards as "No visible tattoos/only discrete piercings during work hours" it is their business to do so. Most places don't allow outlandish makeup either and have set uniform standards. People can choose to get or to remove tattoos so it's allowable to make a decision based on that criteria. It might be stupid if they are passing up a potentially great employee, but again, their business, their rules. Part of it is potentially offended customers. There are a lot of offensive tats out there, part of it is that the business wants the business to be remembered for their service and not the (extreme case) person who body modded and tattooed to look like a demon or cat person. Bad publicity can ruin a business pretty quick.

    As far as why some people don't like tattoos? There are still a lot of negative things associated with tattoos that haven't worked their way out of mainstream beliefs yet.

    I have a coworker who wears arm bands or long sleeves to cover his.
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    Disclaimer: this topic gets me heated

    The banning of tattoos is completely ridiculous, I have a small tattoo on my left hand (and I plan to get more in the future) and I have to wear gloves at work because of it. There is nothing about tattoos that makes that person less suitable to be an employee. So what if they choose to put ink in their skin? It couldn't possibly hurt anyone, and if you take offense from tattoos you should learn to mind your own business and pull the stick out of your ***. I mean, if someone had "**** you" on their forehead, there's a problem, but 99% are harmless.

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    It's that one percent that screws it for everyone else. It's easier to say "No visible tats" than it is to list all the ones not allowed and why it's not allowed.
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    I don't mean to be a jerk, or what not. But I have to ask, why get tattoos in non coverable places? Most employers won't approve of this, and its pretty wide know that they won't. I get that you should be able to do whatever with your body, but still.
    Last edited by CrusherTheFeraligatr; 9th November 2014 at 1:06 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrusherTheFeraligatr View Post
    I don't mean to be a jerk, or what not. But I have to ask, why get tattoos in no coverable places? Most employers won't approve of this, and its pretty wide know that they won't. I get that you should be able to do whatever with your body, but still.
    Fair enough, but if we keep hiding tattoos and treating them like some terrible thing then nothing will change--people need to grow the hell up and learn to be comfortable with tattoos.

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    Because you shouldn't have to consider your employer when making personal decisions about your body. It's kind of ****ed up when you think about it.

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    I don't gages, hair style, or tattoos should matter as long as you can be respectful and get the job done, and if someone is offended by looking at a customer based on that, it's their own issue not theres.

    A friend of mine just dealt with someone who wanted to be hired, but had a swastika on the back of his head, and my friend told him he was still willing to give him a shot, as long as everyone got treated with respect and he had it covered up, but he refused to do that.

    So where do we draw the line on it? Cause something will always offended someone in one way or another.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister_SGG View Post
    Fair enough, but if we keep hiding tattoos and treating them like some terrible thing then nothing will change--people need to grow the hell up and learn to be comfortable with tattoos.
    They do, and it does appear to be slowly happening.

    ^Yeah, a swastika is going to offend people, that's just common sense.
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    An employee in many ways is a representative of the company they work for, a company wishes to look professional and to be frank tattoos don't look professional. I'd say that you should really just cover them up at work because your desire to express yourself through your body is (no offense meant) not as important as the image of the company you work for, it is far more valuable and effects more people than just yourself and your boss.

    I'm not saying that every tattoo is offensive, or that everyone will be discouraged by them should they visit a business that has them visible, but if even a few more people come through the door, share the good experience they had, or comes back because the professional image of the company was not marred by the appearance of tats then it was a smart and reasonable decision for them to make it a rule.

    As for people saying that people should mature past giving negative thought to tattoos, that's just blatant pride speaking, there is far enough of a reason to judge it due to the negative communities in which tattoos are extremely popular.

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    So where do we draw the line on it? Cause something will always offended someone in one way or another
    I don't know if a tattoo being offensive has ever really been the problem, it's that they have negative connotations for whatever reason. I think it's pretty clear that if someone has a swastika on the back of their head people are (rightfully) going to be offended, but I wouldn't call the majority of tattoos offensive so I don't see the need for a strict line to be drawn or for an employer to put a blanket ban in place like what LDSman brought up.


    An employee in many ways is a representative of the company they work for, a company wishes to look professional and to be frank tattoos don't look professional. I'd say that you should really just cover them up at work because your desire to express yourself through your body is (no offense meant) not as important as the image of the company you work for, it is far more valuable and effects more people than just yourself and your boss.

    I'm not saying that every tattoo is offensive, or that everyone will be discouraged by them should they visit a business that has them visible, but if even a few more people come through the door, share the good experience they had, or comes back because the professional image of the company was not marred by the appearance of tats then it was a smart and reasonable decision for them to make it a rule.

    As for people saying that people should mature past giving negative thought to tattoos, that's just blatant pride speaking, there is far enough of a reason to judge it due to the negative communities in which tattoos are extremely popular.
    This is so weirdly pretentious honestly but like... surely you can see the ridiculousness in judging someone based on whether they have tattoos or not. Yeah, they're popular in "negative communities", but immediately viewing someone in an unfavourable light based on that is irrational and stupid. I'd agree with SGG and say that people need to grow up and move past having dumb prejudices like this.

    The employer definitely has the right to tell someone to cover up their tats, but I don't understand the idea that they're somehow unprofessional looking or how they'd affect your experience at a business.
    Last edited by Grey Wind; 9th November 2014 at 2:51 AM.

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    I'm also planning on getting a tattoo in a number of months and I personally agree that it's ridiculous for employers or anyone else to discriminate based upon tattoos. The content of a person's tattoos should be taken into account and whether of not they can be covered if they are offensive(pretty much the consensus so far on this thread). As long as someone's tattoos aren't blatantly offensive(higher level "swear words", nudity, etc.) then I don't see the issue with a person having them.
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    i see both sides of this. on one hand, you are able to apply for a job and not denied based on your body. However, if you were all employers, would you hire a guy covered in head to toe tatoos?


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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Lawliet View Post
    i see both sides of this. on one hand, you are able to apply for a job and not denied based on your body. However, if you were all employers, would you hire a guy covered in head to toe tatoos?
    Is he a nice guy with good people skills and experience and/or a degree pertinent to the position he's applying for?
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    Quote Originally Posted by SILVER XD View Post
    Is he a nice guy with good people skills and experience and/or a degree pertinent to the position he's applying for?
    Doesn't matter, it's the employers' choice to determine what he wants as the face of his business. Appearances are as important as actual skill in many jobs, due to lack of exposure to the customer. If you only talk to someone for 5 minutes you won't be able to tell if they having amazing people skills, you will only be able to tell if they blatantly offended you in one way or another.

    I don't have a problem with it, but I don't run a business either. If businesses can have a dress code, they can deny your application based on a tattoo that you can't cover up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Federation View Post
    Doesn't matter, it's the employers' choice to determine what he wants as the face of his business. Appearances are as important as actual skill in many jobs, due to lack of exposure to the customer. If you only talk to someone for 5 minutes you won't be able to tell if they having amazing people skills, you will only be able to tell if they blatantly offended you in one way or another.

    I don't have a problem with it, but I don't run a business either. If businesses can have a dress code, they can deny your application based on a tattoo that you can't cover up.
    The question asked what I would do if I were an employer so yes, it does matter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister_SGG View Post
    Fair enough, but if we keep hiding tattoos and treating them like some terrible thing then nothing will change--people need to grow the hell up and learn to be comfortable with tattoos.
    If people get too comfortable with them, than that 1 percent becomes a higher percent. I know quite a bit of people (me included) that won't get visible tattoos because it could get in the way of future employment. It isn't like a piercing where it's possible to remove at will. It's either there for life or you pay a ton of money to get it removed. That said, most retail jobs, and businesses that cater to the general public allow tattoos. But I can totally see why it would be against Disney, Toys R Us or a similar place's dress code.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SILVER XD View Post
    The question asked what I would do if I were an employer so yes, it does matter.
    If I put it like this:

    "(It) doesn't matter (in my opinion), because..."

    would you take it better?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jb View Post
    If people get too comfortable with them, than that 1 percent becomes a higher percent. I know quite a bit of people (me included) that won't get visible tattoos because it could get in the way of future employment. It isn't like a piercing where it's possible to remove at will. It's either there for life or you pay a ton of money to get it removed. That said, most retail jobs, and businesses that cater to the general public allow tattoos. But I can totally see why it would be against Disney, Toys R Us or a similar place's dress code.
    I can understand that, but as long as it were coverable I don't see why any employers would steer away from you. So just get ones you can cover. Like I said though, I can understand wanting to abstain completely.

    In any case, the fire department I plan on joining has no issues with tattoos so I'm covered datpuntho

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Federation View Post
    If I put it like this:

    "(It) doesn't matter (in my opinion), because..."

    would you take it better?
    Ah, yes. It seems like it was probably just a semantics issue then.
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    I totally agree, some business just see tattoos as loss of potential profit. If i was a business I probably would too. If you work at a bar its not a big deal, but if your selling china to old ladies its going to be a problem. As a customer they don't bother me.

    Just get the tattoos on your somewhere it doesn't show with a t shirt on, I always thought the side of the ribs would be a good place.

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