Discrimination against Tattooed Employees

An interesting article published in the BBC news magazine this week, looks at the ongoing issue of anti tattoo discrimination within the workplace.

With body art becoming increasingly popular, the question is being raised as to the morality of employers excluding potential employees from recruitment, or even firing current employees on the basis that their tattoos are not “professional”.

General opinions on the matter vary, firms have every right to make a decision on who represents them and as it stands, it is perfectly legal to include clauses in recruitment and employment policies to ban or limit body modifications.

Many police forces and airlines ban “visible” body art, (generally covering face, hands and above the collar line) as well as any which can be classed as violent, intimidating or discriminatory. There have been various cases in the media of employees dismissed, or pushed, from employment making claims that they were unfairly discriminated against on this basis, but employers have continued to insist they were acting within legal rights.

However, with tattoos and other body modification quickly entering the mainstream of society, it is likely that attitude will change. There have already been numerous e-petitions against such discrimination and employers will also have to ask themselves the question of whether they can afford to exclude talent on this basis.

Andrea O’Hare, Head of Employment Law services said;

“The most important thing for employers to do to protect themselves is to have clear polices in place with regards to this issue. Whether its recruitment or employee polices, both will need to be watertight to protect employers in an ever evolving society”.

Citation provide bespoke recruitment policies, contracts of employment and staff handbooks for our clients. To find out more about the Citation service, get in touch today.

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