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Tattoos in the Workplace: Okay or No Way?

SheSpeaksTeam By SheSpeaksTeam 09.08.12
Tattoos in the Workplace: Okay or No Way?
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Whether it was the tattoo you got and now regret or some special ink you are proud to wear, tattoos stay with us forever - even in the workplace. Though the tattoo trend is only growing and seeing those without tattoos in certain venues can be unusual, there is still a question of whether tattoos are acceptable in the workplace.

Many who have tattoos will attempt to cover them up during that first interview if they are unsure of how the employer will react to seeing one on a potential employee. Then after being hired maybe they will become more lax about covering it up, but still wonder how they will be perceived if a co-worker or the boss catches a glimpse of that butterfly on their ankle.

Cayla Martin, a University of Calgary master’s student researching the perception of tattoos for young women entering professional careers is quoted in a recent report from Ottawa Citizen explaining how a stigma surrounding body art still exists in the workplace. Martin says, “No matter how many people are obtaining body modifications, there is still that idea of what that means about someone’s capabilities or who they are as a person.”

For some professionals who now regret getting a tattoo or who feel they have been judged too many times for having them in the workplace, getting them removed is no easy feat. The removal process can be timely, sometimes taking between 6 months and a year, and can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Do you think potential employers will often look down on a job applicant if they catch a glimpse of a tattoo?  Have you had any personal experiences with this?

Should employees have to cover up their body art while on the job?

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  • mbg405 By mbg405

    As much as I hate it, I do think potential employers judge women negatively when tattoos are visible during a job interview. For years I have wanted to have a tattoo added to my wrist but have held off due to the fear of what such a visible tattoo may do to my career opportunities going forward.

  • cocoabella By cocoabella

    it amazes me how people are going tattoo crazy these days. I wonder how they will feel at 70 with that ink tattooed all over their bodies? Will they regret having done it? I don't have any tattoos so I am in the non-ink camp myself . I don't see how it will be possible for people to cover up tattoos at work. Not with the massive amount of ink they are tattooing all over their bodies. I can see how it would negatively impact them at a job interview, even with how mainstream tattooing is these days. It stil holds onto its taboo image.

  • Jenn6790 By Jenn6790

    As long as the tattoos are not offensive, I feel they should be okay in the work place.

  • alwaysblabbing By alwaysblabbing

    I personally have a tattoo and always try to cover it for interviews because you never know what people's personal opinion is about tattoos. I also try to hide it as much as possible when I dress for work. I don't think tattoos should reflect negatively on a person but believe that it does to some people.

  • Britnev By Britnev

    I think it depends on the type of job. I work for the government and they ask that men cover up any big tattoo however we have many women who have small tattoos that are open for the showing. I have a small one just above my ankle and I have never thought to cover it up and I don't think anyone has even noticed it. It really depends on the size and type and using judgment. If I had one on my arm then I would probably cover up for interview or at the workplace if the situation called for it. I think nowadays the dress code has relaxed enough to allow most workers to openly wear small unobtrusive tattoos.

  • 1hotlilmama By 1hotlilmama

    No way. They look trashy to potential clients and are very unprofessional. Covered up is one thing, but if they show, it's different.

  • JosieJadore By JosieJadore

    Honestly, I don't see the big deal! Tattoos are a work of ART and shouldn't have anything to do with how "professional" you look! There are millions of people out there in the world with tattoos. You may not see it, but people have them. If you think someone that has a tat is a "criminal" you might as well be claimed a shame to society for even judging that. There are DOCTORS out there with tats that save LIVES...who's one to claim whether or not a tattoo is unprofessional or not.

  • melodybrgs By melodybrgs

    I personally have no body art but I do admire it to some point. I do understand why some people choose to cover up because there definitely is a big stigma surrounding tattoo's and a persons work ethic which is really sad because judging someone by how they look will not tell you if that person is a great worker or a lousy one. Being judged by how you look should never have to make or break whether or not someone gets the job. doctors,politicians,teachers, etc. should all be able to be who they are without being judged.

  • noelrocs By noelrocs

    I think you shouldn't need to cover up your tatts, unless they're offensive for a workplace environment (tattoos of naked people, for example). I think that most tattoos are pretty cool & it's just another form of self-expression--like makeup & manicures. I think what's more important is personal appearance--clean, bathed, well-groomed employees. Tattoos or not, if someone looks like they wore their clothes to bed, didn't brush their hair or take a bath this morning, I am grossed out... Appearance is so much more than body art. Also, tattooed people can bring in a different clientele; not everyone is freaked out by tattoos. Great read :)

  • QueenKathy7301 By QueenKathy7301

    I agree with some that have posted previously. If the tattoo is not offensive, I think they are ok for the workplace. I also think that, some of it depends on the type of work. *Shrug*

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