Should anti-tattoo discrimination be illegal?

Should anti-tattoo discrimination be illegal?

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Should anti-tattoo discrimination be illegal?

A woman on her phone in an office with a large tattoo on her upper arm Continue reading the main story

Tattoos are more popular than ever, but workers can be dismissed from or denied jobs because of their body modifications. Some want protection under employment law. Should they get it?

You’re perfect for the job. You have all the skills and experience the company is looking for, and you’ve turned up for the interview in your smartest attire.

But there’s a problem.

If you have a tattoo that incurs the displeasure of the boss, you might find any offer of employment is swiftly rescinded.

In July Jo Perkins, a consultant in Milton Keynes, had her contract terminated because a 4cm image of a butterfly on her foot contravened the no-visible-inking policy of the firm for which she worked. The company said she had failed to cover it up. A man shows off his neck tattoo She wasn’t the first. A 39-year-old mother-of-three from Yorkshire with the mantra "Everything happens for a reason" on her forearm was dismissed as a waitress in 2013 following complaints from customers. The previous year, a Next employee complained he had been forced from his job because his employers disliked his 80 tattoos.

In all cases, the employers insisted they were acting within their legal rights. And therein lies a potential hazard for a rapidly-growing section of the workforce.

One in five Britons now has a tattoo, according to research cited by the British Association of Dermatologists in 2012. Among US thirtysomethings the estimate rises to two-fifths.

From the prime minister’s wife, Samantha Cameron – who has a dolphin image on her ankle – to celebrities like David Beckham and Cheryl Cole, tattooed individuals are firmly part of the mainstream. Samantha Cameron’s ankle tattoo Samantha Cameron’s dolphin tattoo on her ankleBut employers have not all kept pace with changes in attitudes. A report last year for the British Sociological Association found managers frequently expressed negative views […]