I received an interesting email asking if tattoos would adversely affect the chances of getting good employment, specifically, whether there’s any legal provision that prohibits an employer from discriminating against individuals who have tattoos.
A tattoo is an expression of individuality. The more serious ones treat this skin art as a mode self-expression, as it should be. The tattoo has outgrown the image of being a badge of those who are in prison. It has become fashionable for the rest, a badge of coolness. Whatever the reason for getting a tattoo, each one has the right to inscribe ink on his/her own body.
Employers, on the other hand, enjoy a wide leeway in exercising its managerial prerogative in selecting the employees who they think are best suited for the requirements of their companies or businesses. There’s no legal provision that expressly prohibits them from rejecting a job applicant because he/she has a tattoo.
Not that it matters, anyway. The prospective employee has no way of knowing the exact reason for the denial of the application. The applicant usually gets a call informing him/her that he/she is hired. It’s very rare for a rejected applicant to get a call from company, informing him/her that he/she has not been accepted, and it’s close to impossible to get a reason for the denial of the application.
While each one has the right to get a tattoo, the employer also has the right to select their employees. If the company believes that having a tattoo is perfectly ok, then no problem. Of course, having a tattoo has nothing to do with one’s ability to work. It’s one thing to reject an applicant because of a tattoo; an entirely different matter to terminate an employee because of a tattoo. The employer could have a perfectly valid reason to prohibit tattoos among certain departments of the company. There can be no hard and fast rule because it should be decided on a case-to-case basis.