Tattoos in the Workplace: Okay or No Way?

SheSpeaksTeam By SheSpeaksTeam 09.08.12
Tattoos in the Workplace: Okay or No Way?

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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  • AnnMowet By AnnMowet

    I have several tattoos and I don't regret them and never will because, I put alot of thought into what I was getting put on my body. With that being said I also thought about where they are placed. I got them in places where they can easily be covered with clothing in any weather, because I kow their not accepted everywhere. Rules are Rules.

  • Sherelle By Sherelle

    This is an appropriate topic today, since I'm wearing a short sleeved shirt that reveals the tattoo on my upper arm. I usually wear a blazer or sweater over it, but my supervisor is not here, and I don't feel as inappropriate in it. She has never said anything against it being seen, and actually said it was a cool tattoo. But, I am a professional person, and when at work ,I want to be perceived a certain way (competent, professional, intelligent) I'm all of these things with my tattoo, but the stuffy people in suits would only see the tattoo. I hate that stigma! I try to not have it completely out in the open all of the time, but when it's extremely hot, I have to compromise. I work in an office, so I usually can easily cover it when needed. Thank God I'm not in Corporate.....

  • basilandcatnip By basilandcatnip

    Depends on the art, the location, and the job.

  • stefaniek99 By stefaniek99

    Depends on the job and depends on where it is! A tattoo on the ankle while wearing closed toed high heels seems so much more approrpriate than one peaking out of a low cut v-neck shirt.

  • bayoustar By bayoustar

    I think they are k as long as theyare not vulgar or offensive

  • HoneeBuns25 By HoneeBuns25

    I love tattoos but I don't have any. I do know that a lot of employers don't want to see those tattoos showing if their company deals with conservative clients. I have seen more and more people working in places with tattoos that are visible but lets be honest if it's a higher paying job that may be dealing with clients that bring in Hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars that tattoo is not going to be viewed positively. In the past tattoos have been associated with people who like to party and drink. Or criminal activities. I think if the employer is okay with your tattoos showing at work then that is fine but I do believe the employer has the right to decide what is okay to be presented to their clients after all it is their business that is being affected.

  • A1nettie By A1nettie

    depends on the job. If you are suppose to be professional (office) then no

  • 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*

  • 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 :)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Jenn6790 By Jenn6790

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

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