Whether they are a statement, an addiction or just popular, tattoos are the permanent fashion accessory of today’s society. For many, the motivation for a tattoo came from seeking a way to look different and express their thoughts, feelings or experiences by way of permanent bodyart.

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see people with some kind of body art, whether it’s a tattoo, a piercing or distinctive colored hair. So what do you do when you start job hunting? Hide or flaunt it? Unfortunately, although getting a tattoo is your personal choice, many employers discriminate against bodyart as it is viewed upon as unprofessional.

Tattoos in the workplace

That’s right, tattoos are still considered radical, even cute ones of Tweety Pie or shooting stars. So while dress codes have loosened and our views as humans evolve into accepting different culties and societies, companies still expect candidates to look professional, especially for an interview. That generally means hide your bodyart!

Rebecca Holdcroft, a tattoo enthusiast from the UK, has unfortunately experienced the downside of flaunting her bodyart. Even though she does not deal with the public face-to-face, Rebecca’s latest employers told her she must wear a cardigan to conceal her tattoos. And in the hot weather, this can get unbearable, she says.

Rebecca Holdcroft

(Rebecca Holdcroft)

At a previous workplace she was made to cover up and “on a hot day I passed out and cracked my head in a toilet cubicle”. After that incident, she says, she was given a desk fan, but this was taken away two days later for health and safety reasons.

Rebecca says some tattoos were visible at her job interview, but it was not until her second day in the office that she was told they looked “unprofessional” and she should cover up. “If I am sitting I can take my cardigan off, but if I am walking around the office I have to put it back on,” she said.

Rebecca Holdcroft

(Rebecca hiding and flaunting her bodyart)

She says it is discrimination - even though the Citizens Advice Bureau and a solicitor have both told her there is no law to protect her.

A 2001 online survey by Vault.com - a job-search and career Web site - shows that 58% of employers that responded would be less likely to hire someone with a visible tattoo or body piercing. You worked hard for your qualifications, so encourage employers to appreciate your skills and abilities, not your choice of body art.

Ironically, once you show employers that you can do a good job, you may be able to show off your body art at the office without career repercussions. About 81% of the employees with body art whom Vault.com surveyed say their tattoos or body piercings have had no effect on their careers. First, though, learn more about the company’s policies and attitudes.

It seems that although tattoos have become more acceptable in today’s society, the business workplace still obides by rules and policies dating back to when bodyart was viewed upon very negatively. In short - getting a tattoo is your personal choice so keep it out of your workplace if you want to stay on the good side of your boss!