To tattoo or not to tattoo, that is the question

A recent survey reported on by ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) revealed that young people believe their chance of success in an interview could be affected by their tattoos. This is despite recent figures that suggest one in three young people have them. This has led to ACAS reviewing its guidance on dress codes at work. The research suggests that employers could miss talented workers because of the negative associations and a traditional dislike of tattoos in the workplace.
The research also suggests that whether employers consider tattoos acceptable at work can depend on the industry. For example, customer-facing roles (such as the airline industry) may have a stricter approach to the appearance of their staff than others. On the other hand, some employers may consider tattoos to be an asset in attracting a younger audience (for example, bars or clubs).
Businesses are free to state that employees need to cover up tattoos. However, this may mean they are missing out on talented workers. ACAS stresses that employers who have an image policy to reflect “the ethos of their organisations” should ensure they have a written policy on appearance and communicate this to all staff so they understand what is expected.
Along with recent cases on high heels and religious symbols at work, the need to modernise and review dress code policies remains an on going concern for employers to consider.

Helena Rozman

About Helena Rozman

Helena has experience in acting for both employees and employers covering both contentious and non-contentious work. Helena's experience includes defending Employment Tribunal claims and engaging in settlement negotiations; advising clients on complex disciplinary matters, exit strategies and large restructuring exercises, including TUPE and redundancy; co-ordinating and responding to data subject access requests; advising on the employment implications on business and asset purchases and outsourcing arrangements; project managing and advising clients on multi-jurisdictional projects with our international offices; drafting settlement agreements for exiting employees; advising on the employment aspects of corporate transactions and undertaking due diligence; and reviewing contracts, company handbooks and policies.

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