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Comments about ‘Letters: Tattoo discrimination’

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Published: Monday, Nov. 4 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Rusty Nail
Sandy, UT

I agree. So many have tattoos, and as time goes on, they will be more accepting. As long as they aren't racist as mentioned, or plastered all over your face, what's the big deal?

cjb
Bountiful, UT

A guy at my work got tattoos along the lenght of his arms, on his and the entire area where a shirt covers the body. He is an intelligent person with a 4 year degree and with aspirations to move up in the organization. Given these aspirations I asked him why he got the tattoos and if he wasn't concerned they would affect his chances of moving up, (in my mind, they would be a barrier to upward mobility). He didn't share my views, and didn't seem to understand why I would hold such a view.

Ranch
Here, UT

Getting a tattoo is a choice. I don't understand why anybody would get (so many of) them when they understand that it could affect their job possibilities negatively. Same thing with piercings.

Being required to cover them up on the job is not discrimination. Private companies have all kinds of policies that the employee must follow; public employees are no different.

Midvaliean
MIDVALE, UT

I disagree. Get your tattoos in a non-visible location, otherwise you WILL be judged for them. It just happens, always has always will.

Stable thought
FORT MORGAN, CO

I have been waiting to hear that I as an employer should hire some even if they have a tattoo. First let me be clear, I will and do hire people that have tattoo's...discrete and not offensive tattoo's (most cases Hidden).

I will not hire someone that deliberately stains their skin in distracting ways. I have customers that would not do business me if I had someone represent my service and product with such markings on their bodies. Race,religion,age and gender and sexual orientation is obvious, but tattoo's. Really? When I read this type opinion I know the age of common sense has left us. Go Head cover you body with tattoo's just don't expect me to hire you.

higv
Dietrich, ID

Why do you want to get a tattoo in the first place. I see no rhyme or reason for it. If you don't want to get discriminated for having a tattoo don't desecrate your body that way. You chose to get the tattoo it has nothing to do with heredetery or something you were forced to do.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

When you get a tattoo you are asking to be noticed in some way. Sometimes to be associated with a group (military, gang, music group, school, etc) or being associated with an attitude.

Men don't get tattoos because they are pretty. Many men get them so people will think they are tough, or to associate with a group or movement, or to send a message. You can't send that message all day and then insist prospective employers not receive that message. It's right there... you can't turn it off for the interview or insist the employer ignore it.

Young women sometimes get tattoos because they think tattoos are pretty. But prospective employers may think that shows poor judgement. And I know when I'm looking for employees I'm not looking for people who demonstrate poor judgement.

Some women get tattoos to send the message that they are a bad girl, a rebellious girl, or a tough girl, to get attention, or to show solidarity with their boyfriend or girlfriends. But you can't instantly turn that message off when sitting across the desk from an employer or a customer.

Betcha
Waltham, MA

The truth of the matter is, Tattoo's have always been associated with rebellion against the establishment.. and yes that means bad boys. I have learned that if some one is willing to inflict pain on them selves, I can promise you they won't hesitate to inflict pain on you. Most people I meet that had tattoos when they were in their younger, rebellious years, truly regret it when they get older, You may hate the fact that a tattoo say's something about you, but the truth is, it does.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I thought about getting one, when I was a kid, till I saw what the tattoo over time. I saw one that an older guy had on his arm, It bled together to a blob on his arm. It changed my mind. I think it's like long hair in the 60's, It
's going to take time to accept. but by that time the tattoo is going to be more of something that I would petty the people for getting.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I think tribal tattoos and tasteful military tattoos are mostly overlooked by employers (because they are not sending an anti-establishment message). People with tattoos that send a distinct, "I don't care what you think, I'll do whatever I want", message... don't get overlooked by perspective employers so much.

What I'm saying is... it kinda depends on the message YOUR tattoo was originally intended to send.

I don't think the mere existence of any tattoo is an automatic dis-qualifier for most employers... but some are hard to overlook and if it distracts or bothers the person doing the interview... they have to wonder if it will bother customers or co-workers as well.

Most of the people I know with tattoos accept this and just blow it off saying, "I wouldn't want to work for someone who isn't OK with my tattoos anyway".

So they know they have limited their future to positions and bosses who like tattoos. It may not be "fair", but it's what happens when you make the decision to wear your attitude on your sleeve. Employers must wonder what working with you would be like.

watchman
Salt Lake City, UT

Sorry John. Employers have the right to hire who they feel best represents their best efforts. Smaller tatoos in less visible places are generally accepted but some people tend to go overboard with displaying large artwork on their skin and it is not generally accepted. They should realize this before making the decision to do this. This decision is made by the individual and is not foisted on them by anyone else.

Strider303
Salt Lake City, UT

Tattoos, piercings, body art and modifications turn me off. When ever possible I avoid establishments that have public contact people with whom I am uncomfortable. I go to another provider where I am more comfortable with the clerks/servers, and spend my money there.

People are free to do what they want and free to associate with whom they want to associate, or not. To the business owner the selection of his employees is important to the share of the market he will capture and serve hence reluctance on hiring people with a lot of body art who may drive business away.

As to playing the veteran card, enough already. A lot of us have military service and don't broadcast it. We haven't had the Draft for decades so military service is like body art, a choice. I am glad there are rough men who willing to do violence so I can rest easy. Some of our forefathers did the same.

IMO body art is a choice that reflects a rebellious or callous attitude. One is free to spend his money on it and live with it. I am free to ignore it and not support it.

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

I have a moderately large tattoo myself, and I can see both sides of the argument.

Some tattoos are ugly, some are beautiful, and some are offensive. Do we really expect an employer to closely examine each and every employee so that he/she can judge whether each individual tattoo meets their criteria for acceptability or not? That's an undue burden on the employer, and a very easy way to offend the employees as well. Who is going to put themselves in the position of judging? It is much easier and more even-handed to ban all exposed tattoos, rather than end up with some employees feeling that they've been unfairly singled out.

I worked in the medical profession (both clinical and research), and I never felt discriminated against because of my tattoo. But that may be because I planned ahead. I intentionally got the tattoo (on one foot, ankle, and lower leg) where I could easily cover it up or leave it revealed, whichever the situation warranted.

Getting a tattoo IS a choice. Choose wisely. And if at some point you decide you've made a mistake, there's always laser removal. ;-)

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@2 bits

Your comments made most of mine redundant… excellent analysis.

Most of the dumb things we do when we’re young we can recover from without some degree of lasting damage… this is one where we cannot.

And we have evolved to be hyper-sensitive to external signals others send – it’s folly to think that cognitive mechanism will be turning off anytime soon.

GZE
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Actually John, asking you to cover your tattoo while working is a pretty reasonable compromise.

Give it some time. Tattoos are becoming more and more mainstream. It's not going to be an issue in a few years. Unless they're on your face - then it's going to take longer for society to accept it as normal.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Getting hired in Utah can require lot's of secret methods used by both employers and those seeking employment or housing sometimes. Employer's play little word games and visual detective work, to find out if your a member of the dominant religious group. I been asked about willingness to work Sundays, when the business wasn't open on Sundays.

Had a friend who worked in sales who wore thin shorts of a specific length that left a crease in the right place, that he swore by.

Years ago my wife and I were looking to move into a bigger rental we had been at the same place 7 years and the landlord loved us, kept the place immaculate paid on time every time ect. We were told where the local ward was in most of the interviews and we said it was not important as we were not active members, this was the mistake I didn't realize I was making on the very next appointment I made a point of asking if the ward house was within walking distance, the owners face lit up and he called us within tan hour of leaving.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@higv
"If you don't want to get discriminated for having a tattoo don't desecrate your body that way"

Hah, so if someone doesn't want to get discriminated over religion they shouldn't be part of it? Way to blame the victim there.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

It's perfectly ok if employers have physical appearance rules that employees must abide by.

Nothing wrong by that

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Young people getting large gauges in their ears, Big nose rings, etc, need to consider the same thing. "This may be cool with my friends now... but how will this affect my job prospects in the future"? It can be very limiting.

Not every boss is comfortable trying to manage an employee that displays an anti-establishment attitude. And some customers may not be totally comfortable working with somebody who displays their attitude by making large holes in their ears, nose, drawing all over their skin, etc.

Some decisions to modify your body may get a satisfying shock from people now, but it may limit your future job possibilities to working at a fast-food restaurant the rest of your life. That may seem OK now (when you are in high school or college)... but there may come a day when you want to become a banker, lawyer, architect, model, or some other profession where a nice appearance does matter. Someday you may want a position that requires public trust, where first impressions do matter, and your body art MAY become a liability.

Clydesdale
Tooele, UT

One mans art is another mans vandalism. Vandals don't see why you would discriminate against them either. It's just beautiful art. Right? Some people don't want vandals working for them. That's it. It's the mentality employers are worried about, not the tattoo.

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