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Tattoos in the workplace

Dated: 14 Feb, 2017

The following interesting article was published by the Independent Newspaper regarding Tattoos in the workplace.

Acas urged firms to change their attitudes and relax their dress codes.

It argued that a third of young people have a tattoo but some companies and individual Managers were still worried about the image it would give to potential customers.

“Businesses are perfectly within their right to have rules around appearance at work but these rules should be based on the law where appropriate, and the needs of the business, not managers personal preferences Stephen Williams Acas head of Equality said.

Whilst it remains a legitimate business decision a dress code that restricts people with tattoos might mean companies are missing out on talented workers he added.

The groups decision to update its dress code guidance follows the recent case of a temporary worker who was sent home without pay for refusing to wear high heels at work.

Any dress code should be non-discriminatory and should apply to both men and women equally according the group.

In an interview with the Sunday Times Margaret Mountford, the former right-hand woman of Lord Sugar recently warned that tattoos were a real problem for British young people seriously decreasing their chances of getting a job.

Last year, Charlotte Tumilty a trainee teacher was sent home on her first day of work at a Catholic primary school when staff objected to her tattoos.

Her case prompted debate about whether anti-tattoo discrimination should be made illegal.

Under UK law workers have no protection under discrimination legislation for having a tattoo.

Under UK law job applicants and employees do not have any stand alone protection from being discriminated against for having a tattoo Matt Gingell, an employment law partner at Gannons solicitors told The Independent

This means that it could be easy to reject a job candidate for wearing a tattoo. Employers may also be able to fire an employee for contravening a dress code which requires employees to cover up visible tattoos. Employees with two years service or more do have greater rights – though could still be dismissed fairly in certain situations he added.