Tattoos in the workplace - taboo or not?

Tattoos in the workplace - taboo or not?


It was at a recent marketing strategy session in Melbourne I was having with one of my Business Development Managers when sitting across the boardroom table looking at his ink (both arms covered) it struck me, how does the wider business community view tattoos in the workplace in 2018?

I must admit, having quite a lot of ink myself, I still find myself being sometimes self-conscious of my tattoos (if I have them visible), especially when going into meetings with new prospects whom I haven’t met before. On the flipside, when hiring staff for nVision, I don’t have a prejudice one way or the other. In fact, I’d say that over 50% of our staff have at least one tattoo and a few have significant amounts of ink on their bodies.

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, Employers will sometimes set rules regarding the appearance of their employees in the workplace. However, it is important to ensure that any proposed rules that affect people with tattoos do not amount to discrimination. Discrimination is against the law when people are treated unfairly because of a personal attribute that is protected by law, including race, sex and gender identity.

I personally feel like tattoos, at least in Australia, are generally accepted and mostly tolerated in the corporate workplace presuming they can be covered if and when required. Like everything, we evolve with the times and companies are not immune to this, especially as Millenials and Gen Y are going to make up a large part of the workforce pretty soon.

My personal feelings are that if something such as a tattoo or piercing has no bearing upon a person's ability to perform their role successfully, why should it be an issue? (this is assuming the body art isn’t offensive, racist or derogatory in other ways) If someone wants to express their individuality through body art, kudos to them, I am one of those people myself!

I’d be interested in hearing others opinions on this topic, have you ever ran into issues due to having tattoos yourself? Feel free to comment with your thoughts :)