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'Appearance does not reflect character, capability, or morals' - Tattoos in the workplace | Tattoo Equipment


A topic of discussion that frequently tends to crop between my friends and I, is tattoos in the workplace.  Now, I understand that depending on the industry you work in, tattoos will either be accepted, frowned upon, or just totally unacceptable.  Certain workplaces don’t openly welcome or encourage body art, but because of the nature of the job, they can’t, and won’t discriminate against it, while others simply will not employ people based on their appearance.  I recently read an article about a petition that’s been formed in Canada to make it illegal to discriminate against people with tattoos, and it really got me thinking about the tattoo discrimination that still takes place in the UK today.

When I was younger, I had a job interview for a well-known fashion retail company, and I’d covered up my leg tattoos with some opaque tights.  The interviewers caught a glimpse of them, and told me that my tattoos looked really cool, and that the company wanted to embrace individual personalities, but I wouldn’t be able to have them on show at all.  This to me seemed contradictory, especially as the ladies interviewing had been very complementary of my whole aesthetic.   I’d also had a bit of a nightmare with my septum piercing at the time, the thread had somehow become stuck and I wasn’t able to take it out for the interview (which very I apologetically explained), and I was then warned that piercings weren’t accepted at all.  Suffice to say the interviewers both had multiple ear piercings, which I found quite interesting.  It was quite a high street shop, and the target market was middle aged women, however I’d never contemplated the fact that my tattoos and piercing could be so offensive in a retail environment.  I didn’t get the job.

I’m not daft, and I know that tattoos aren’t totally welcomed by everyone.  Even though tattoos are becoming increasingly popular and there is a lot of progression for the tattoo industry in general, when it comes to tattoos and the workplace, there still seems to be a lot of issues here.  The article I’d read, based on a petition, had the wonderful tagline of ‘Appearance does not reflect character, capability, or morals’, and I think this is absolutely right.  People are not morally flawed because they’ve chosen to self-express through tattoos and piercings, but there’s still a huge stigma, and the petition aims to completely eradicate this, at least when it comes to employment.  

It’s understandable that offensive tattoos are disallowed for those working with the public, and some piercings may be unacceptable due to health and safety reasons, (and this is completely fine), but I think in this day and age if a person has the right qualifications, experience, and is an excellent candidate for the job they’ve applied for, then they shouldn’t be overlooked due to the fact they’ve chosen to have tattoos.  Working for a tattoo supplies company, my tattoos are embraced, and my experiences of being tattooed have given me a better knowledge of tattoo equipment, and a more in depth understanding of the industry, which is obviously beneficial given my line of work, and I’m very grateful of this! 

The Canadian petition has received 26,012 signatures over a four-year run, which shows that many Canadians support the cause, and I think it would be brilliant if something like this were to happen in the UK.  There needs to be more acknowledgement that tattoos are not the measure of someone’s character, capability, or morals, just as a hairstyle does not define how good an employee you’d be, it’s just a personal choice!

I’m sure in the future, there will eventually be less and less discrimination against tattoos, after all, we’ve come a long way in the past few decades, but for now I still feel that there’s a bit of a battle there, but even small changes can make a huge difference! I’d love to hear what you guys think on this topic, so please feel free to drop us a comment below!  Don't forget to check out our tattoo equipment at our store!


Love Toni...


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  • Antonia McLoughlin