Is There Such a Thing as Tattoos in the Workplace Discrimination?

You have probably noticed the rising popularity of tattoos. As millennials have begun entering the workforce, competing for promotions and advancing their careers – there has been some whispers about tattoos in the workplace discrimination.

While individuals with tattoos have claimed their body art can interfere with their careers, the legislation does not always agree. As a workplace discrimination attorney, we do not handle these types of cases. And there are a few good reasons for that.

From a legal standpoint – not really. A few local governments such as Washington, D.C; Urbana, Illinois; Santa Cruz, California; and Madison, Wisconsin have laws that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on personal appearance. However, these laws do not do much to protect those with body art from being discriminated against.

Laws that protect discrimination against personal appearance still favor the companies. All a company has to prove in court is a reasonable business purpose for discriminating against the individual with tattoos. For instance, an employer can claim that an individual with visible body art may hinder the company’s “conservative” image and practices.

There are certain instances where tattoos in the workplace may be workplace discrimination. However, it would have to be a tattoo required by religion or based on a discriminatory policy such as only male employees being allowed to have tattoos.

How to Handle Tattoos in the Workplace.

With over 40% of millennials having tattoos nowadays, many individuals in the workforce will have tattoos on some part of their bodies. Employers rarely care about a tattoo unless they can see it.

Nearly every person can avoid this discrimination simply by avoiding visible body art. For people already covered in tattoos, this can be easier said than done. If possible, make sure to cover as many of your tattoos as possible during the hiring process and when inside the workplace.

Many businesses believe that tattoos are still a sign of unprofessionalism and refuse to hire people with visible ones.