Tattoos In The Workplace

Tattoos In The Workplace

Whether you have one or not, most of us have an opinion on tattoos. Tattoos in the workplace have always been a controversial topic but recently the topic is receiving more media attention than usual. Through your time at Cal Poly Pomona (CPP), you may have opportunities to get a tattoo, but will that choice limit your job options post graduation?

In Hartepool, England, a teaching assistant was sent away from her first day of her new job at a Catholic school because her arms and neck are covered in tattoos. She was told school was ‘strict Catholic’ and the inkings were inappropriate, but the school insists she could have returned if she’d covered them up. The teaching assistant claimed that the school is ‘prejudiced’ and claims she can’t cover tattoos. The problem with this incident is that when she went for an interview at the school to secure her placement, staff were able to see her tattoos and she did promise to take out her piercings. She claims that the staff allegedly told her that would be enough.

Tattoo'd teacher with tattoos showingTattoo/d teacher covering her tattoos with conservative clothing

In a more progressive direction, Starbucks recently reversed their company wide tattoo ban, and implemented a new policy stating:

“We want customers to focus on you, not your body art. Tattoos are allowed, but not on your face or throat. Treat tattoos as you treat speech – you can’t swear, make hateful comments or lewd jokes in the workplace, neither can your tattoos.“

Reactions to the new policy are mixed.



When Allison Green, Graphic Designer for St. Louis Business Journal received a call for an initial interview at the Business Journal, she was 22, had pink colored hair, a pierced nose and a few visible tattoos. She immediately dyed her hair to a “normal” color, took out her nose ring and dressed the part of a professional. She asked her boss whether or not she would have gotten the job if she kept the pink in her hair or if her interviewers had seen her tattoos?

Michael Behrens, creative director at the Business Journal, said that in Green’s role he would have hired her regardless. But if she was interviewing for another position, she probably wouldn’t have been considered.

A spokesman for the Tattooing and Piercing Industry Union said, “Members of the public should think carefully about tattoo placement because it can impact your employment prospects.”

What do you think about tattoos in the workplace? Will the way other people perceive tattoos effect your decision on getting one or not? Weigh in with #CampusCropChat on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and tell us how you feel.