Are Tattoos Still Taboo in the Workplace? Essay Sample

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  • Word count: 1,332
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  • Category: employment

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Introduction of TOPIC

This is a topic that has been marinating in my mind for quite some time. I myself love the sense of having freedom to express myself. As I currently stand, I work as a Systems Engineer for the Government and one of my biggest pet peeves is conformity. I understand that there are dress codes and I follow them but in ways that still allow me to be myself, after all I’m not a gray suit type of gal. In fact, I myself have a full sleeve tattoo and I’m not afraid to show it at work. I find that I’m lucky that I work with individuals that have never judged me based on my tattoos and a boss who allows me to still be myself while I work on very intense projects and missions for our very own Military. My tattoos have not hindered me from learning new and challenging things so why should it stop Employers from hiring people with tattoos?

I do understand there is always a time and place for self-expression and when going for interviews I feel everyone should appear professional. However, there have seen instances where a slightly visible tattoo has hindered potential employers from being hired. According to article in Huffington Post, “ In short, clean-cut candidates with a traditional corporate appearance are more appealing to employers than those with visible body artwork.” For the most part I feel individuals would attend an interview dressed appropriately, but sometimes regardless of what you wear some have visible tattoos, like on the hand or wrist and neck. This is where I feel that people should be valued more for what they are trying to bring to a job, rather then for what they look like or have on the exterior.

The stereotype of what is conveyed when a person walking around with tattoos all over their arm is that they are trouble, uneducated…a rebel to society. In the article “Professional dress code and Tattoos,” states that in today’s world people with tattoos are very prejudiced and tattoos are most popular among the poor and uneducated. I believe that tattoos should not undermine anyone’s education or render any label other than promoting freedom of expression. Just as you can’t discriminate based on ethnicity or religion I don’t feel someone with tattoos should be discriminated. If you have the qualifications and experience to do a job, why should anything else matter? I do believe there are those out there with distasteful permanent ink on them and feel that if any of the art is offensive that should be a reason of doubt and a reason it shouldn’t be allowed. However the Article also states “Many tattooed people think that the

y are protected by their First Amendment rights to freedom of expression. Unfortunately, this is not

true in the workplace.”

Tattoo laser removal has been on the rise from potential employees trying to find work. “Laser tattoo removal rose 32% from 2011 to 2012 with “employment reasons” cited as the leading factor according to a recent study done by The Patient’s Guide:

There’s been a significant increase in the number of patients who desire tattoo removal for career advancement or for employment reasons,” says Dr. Eric Bernstein, renowned laser expert and Associate Clinical Professor at University of Pennsylvania. “I think this is as wrong as any other kind of discrimination, but patients tell me that their tattoos are affecting their professional lives. Many feel that their body could be holding them back and this has resulted in more folks seeking tattoo removal.

People are spending rediculous money trying to remove tattoos, people whom Im sure are trying to find a job because they need money, All in hopes that someone will hire them. I think, as someone who has tattoos should go to an interview dressed as professionally as possible and give them the best they have and if someone can’t look passed these exterior road blocks then they are not the Employers you want to work for because in the end, you will be miserable working around those that don’t allow you to be yourself because I feel the best work comes from those that feel accepted and not judged.

According to an article written by Jennifer D. Melville, “that tattoos and piercings are voluntary body art and employers have the right to exclude them as long as they consider religious or ethnic beliefs. Companies have the right to demand that their employees look professional.” I feel this is a valid statement because I feel if you work in a professional environment it would behoove you to dress and look professional. The misconception that I argue is that it should not prevent you from being able to get a job based solely on your tattoos, unless like I stated, it’s inappropriate or on areas like your hands and neck where its visibly shown.

Still I think as time goes on, employers are becoming seemingly aware that some ink on the skin is not going to affect the way a person does a job and in fact, according to the Article ”Tattoos in the workplace no longer taboo,” states that Tattoo acceptance in the workplace depends on the specific industry and employer. I strongly feel that employers should not be discouraged by individuals with tattoos and give them the benefit of the doubt that they will adhere to the dress code and be considerate to the workplace as far as being able to cover up their tattoos so they can prove their professionalism. I truthfully am fortunate that I was not judged however, I also knew to dress accordingly when need be.

In the article “Tattoos and Piercings in the Workplace”, it states that “60 percent of employers said that they were less likely to hire a candidate with tats or piercings. Their main concern was how the company would be viewed and/or represented.” I strongly believe if this path continues a lot of employers will lose out on some very valuable assets. If you have the skills, the education and the drive to work hard, that alone should stand out more than someone’s tattoos. An employer can enforce a dress code, but it’s up to everyone to follow it.


Dave Esenberg. “Are Tattoos Still Taboo in the Workplace? Boston Experts Weigh In”. BostInno June 26th, 2012

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Tara Kelly. “Tattoo Removal Rises As Employers Hesitate To Hire Inked Applicants”. Huffington Post May 25, 2012



Burleson Consulting. “Professional dress code and Tattoos”.Business Tips April 13,2012

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Article :

Jennifer D. Melville .”Tattoos & Job Discrimination”. eHow April 13, 2012

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Article :

Rebecca Barnett .”Tattoos in the workplace no longer taboo”. The Patriot-News. July 19, 2009 – April 13, 2012… >


Erika Icon. “Tattoos and Piercings in the Workplace” Working World. April 13,2012

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