Many people are appealing for a change in legislation regarding discrimination in the workplace. This is due to several cases of employees being dismissed due to their tattoos hitting the headlines of mainstream media.

These include a consultant who had her contract terminated due to her foot tattoo which depicted a small butterfly measuring at 4cm. However her employers claimed it did not comply with their no visible ink policy and said she was no longer suitable to work for them.

A waitress in Yorkshire was also dismissed from her job due to customer complaints about the script tattoo on her forearm. The text reads “Everything happens for a reason” and was often visible during working hours when she was serving at the establishment. An employee at Next also claimed he was forced from his job due to his employers dislike for his numerous tattoos.

Despite sounding discriminatory, all employers involved were acting within their legal rights. This has led to campaigns for changes in work place legislation. This type of restriction on body modifications within the workplace will affect a growing number of people in the UK, with a reported 1 in 5 Brits having a tattoo. This figure is even higher overseas in the United States where the workplace conformity issue is also commonplace.

Many people would not expect this type of prejudice to be standard within the working world, especially as today’s society is much more accepting of the diverse cultures and religions within the UK. This is in addition to the rise of tattoos in celebrity culture, many of which are household names and icons for the youth of today that sport bold and visible inked designs.

However due to the current economic climate, employers can afford to be much more picky over who they employ to represent their company. This is due to the limited number of vacancies and high numbers of applicants. This shows the clash of traditional values in the business culture and modern trends and acceptance of body modification. The companies may be turning down talented and qualified individuals to keep in line with outdated policies.

Every story has two sides though and when considered from a corporate perspective, a blanket ban on visible tattoos can be understandable. It is much fairer to say that no employees can have tattoos on display rather than trying to decide what is acceptable as the boundaries can be very difficult to create. This is due to the fact that tattoo designs may be liked by some but considered offensive or inappropriate by others. This type of decision is very subjective and is more likely to cause upset by allowing one employees tattoos on show and not others.

A widespread acceptance of tattoos in the workplace may also create a surge in hand and neck design placements. Currently, these types of tattoos are not considered lightly due to their consequences and many tattoo artists will not ink in these areas if the customer does not already have existing body artwork. If visible artwork was more acceptable in society would lead to potentially more impulse tattoos due to lack of consequences.