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Tattoo on both arms and employer saying wear long sleeves!!!


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I work as a salesman and have worked there for just under 12 months. When I started work I had a tattoo on each lower arm(childrens name only). I wore short sleeved shirts last summer - i was ribbed at first by the managers but then nothing said. Now the weather has changed for the better it was mentioned yesterday that short sleeves are not allowed if tattoos are on show. I have looked in my company handbook (employment) and it is NOT stated anywhere that they are not allowed. I know that some staff north of the borders are allowed to work with tattoos on show. PS The company I work for are very very large(mainly in Scotland).. Please advise asap

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I think you need to comply with their request. An employer is open to enforcing any dress code which isn't discriminatory, and if you don't comply with their request you may well find yourself on a disciplinary!

 

Unfortunately your length of service doesn't help you, so if you're sacked you can't claim unfair dismissal. Maybe wait until after 12 months and then raise a grievance on the grounds that another employee is treated differently.

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It does seem reasonable that the company request tattoos be covered especially in a customer facing role, a dress code stating that they be covered is not unusual, it may be that those North of the Boarder do have tattoos on show, it may be that other sites South of the boarder allow them to be on show as well, but if your manager has said no then no it is, not really worth making a fuss about.

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I agree that you should wait until your employment rights are secure before rocking the boat. However, as a matter of discrimination I raise the equally new phenomenon of women having tattoos and indeed those are on show too. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander too !!! Just saying !

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I think that in any customer facing role you would be asked to cover up whether male or female, like them or loath them tattoos can be very off putting to some people and really do not fit with some company images. i really cannot see the problem here.

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I am not disagreeing with you AB just trying to highlight a potential discrepancy between the sexes for the OP if he can prove that his tattoos are being asked to be covered up whilst someone of the opposite sex was not being similarly treated. Might never be an issue of course, on the other hand it may be and if he did want to submit a grievance then highlighting a discriminatory difference may be beneficial for him.

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I see your point Papasmurf although my gut feeling is that an employer would be more likely to ask a lady to cover her tattoos than a man !! anyway hopefully this situation wont arise in this case and common sense will prevail.

How about short sleeves when away from customers and a light jacket when in front of them, dont know what the OPs job is if its in sales and he is out and about jacket on and off wouldnt be a problem, if he is in a shop then it would be so long sleeves it is.

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AB "like them or loath them tattoos can be very off putting to some people and really do not fit with some company images" I know I am going of topic a bit here so I hope the OP forgives me, but playing devil's advocate I wonder if you took out the word 'tattoo' in your statement and replaced it with 'hijab' or 'turban' or 'piercing' or 'cross' or 'gaypride rainbow badge' or any other expression of personal identity, religion or sexual orientation whether we would be arguing in the same manner.

 

I sense the OP feels rather victimised (in the general term as opposed to the legal term) because of his tattoos and perhaps quite rightly too. It just seems to me from the description the OP painted of his employer that they are not the most tolerant of employers. Just seems they NEED to pick on some group or other.... classic bullying tactics.

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As far as I'm aware, there's no requirement to wear a "gay pride rainbow badge" as a homosexual! Lol.

 

Bit of a tangent, but case law is fairly clear on the above examples, it's discriminatory not to allow someone to wear something required to manifest their religion, such as the hijab or turban. There's no part of Christianity which requires followers to wear a cross, so an employer doesn't have to allow it to be on show, although it could be worn underneath a uniform. Piercings would be treated similarly to tattoos as the law sees them both as self inflicted. It wouldn't be discriminatory to refuse the employee permission to wear the gay pride badge either, lol, mainly because the individual would suffer no detriment by not being able to wear it.

 

Just thought you might find the above interesting!

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I have tattoos. I was a tattooist for years. I now work in a professional role within the NHS. I have NEVER been asked to cover them up. I choose to wear longer sleeves under my uniform so my quarter sleeves arent on show, but my others are.....and its not a problem. In fact, i did my training where i work and was offered a job before I;d even sat my finals! I see lots of patients every day, and if anything, my tattoos are an ice breaker. many are interested to know what the one on my inner forearm written in Thai says. They dont stop me from doing my job, they dont interfere with my work in any way, shape or form.......and im a girl too :-)

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Yam that is what I am trying to get at, your tattoos have nothing to do with your work attitude, demeanour or personality. The OP's concern has more to say about the employer than the employee.

 

becky so when there is a cross between Maori facial tattoos where they are traditional and cultural and an employer saying they have to be covered up ....?? Where does that leave our OP? The trouble is when managers put THEIR values upon you and make judgements merely on how one looks I see why people and in particular why the OP is so concerned and angry.

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the employer is entitled to ask people to cover tattoos, piercings etc, but you also have the right to express yourself

 

they can ask you to cover them up, and if you refuse then you can be discplined, for refusing a reasonable request. I would say covering tattoos is reasonable. I think you are on very dangerous grounds and need to be careful.

I am not a legal professional or adviser, I am however a Law Student and very well versed areas of Employment Law. Anything I write here is purely from my own experiences! If I help, then click the star to add to my reputation :)

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I am still saying that in a customer facing role the employer has the right to insist on certain standards of dress/appearance, as the employee is the face of his business. I agree that a tattoo or piercing makes no difference to the employees abilities but it can make a difference to the reception they recieve from the customer. Appearances do matter in a lot of jobs for example hopw many cabin crew on airlines do you see with broken noses, crooked teeth etc its not the image the company want to portray. As it happens I quite like some tattoos but others can IN MY OPINION look quite ugly and dtract rather than enhance the appearance.

So I still say in this case put a long sleeved shirt on if thats what the employer wants its no different to wearing a uniformn its a dress code not a lifestyle altering request.

If I have been of any help, please click on my star and let me know, thank you.

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i don't think that is particularly relevant as it holds no case in law

I am not a legal professional or adviser, I am however a Law Student and very well versed areas of Employment Law. Anything I write here is purely from my own experiences! If I help, then click the star to add to my reputation :)

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