Can I Lose My Job Over My Tattoo?

When you’re hired for a job, you are supposed to be considered for the position based on your merits and capabilities rather than your appearance. While most hiring managers and business owners abide by the more common anti-discriminatory practices, you could still undermine your chances of finding and maintaining viable employment if your physical appearance is deemed too radical.


Even as many forms of personal artistic expressions gain acceptance throughout most aspects of society, you may still want to consider other ways to show off your personality and preferences if you want to retain your current job or better your chances of being hired in the professional arena later.


Many jobs today require workers to wear their hair at reasonable lengths and in practical styles. People who work in restaurants, hospitals, and other industries that must abide by health and safety laws may be discouraged from wearing long ponytails or having their hair dyed and styled unconventionally. If your job restricts you from such styles, you can still show off your fashion choices by perhaps wearing braids, using crimpers or curling irons, or donning accessories like ponytail holders, barrettes, clips, or even weaves.


As with hairstyles, body piercings may be unwelcomed in your place of employment. If you are a fan of wearing studs in your eyebrows, tongue, or cheek, you could show your sense of style by wearing these accessories outside of the workplace and abiding by your job’s restrictions. Your studs could pose a hazard to your safety if your piercing were to get caught in a piece of machinery or infected after coming into contact with workplace chemicals. Most companies allow their workers to wear earrings that are sensible and modest, however. You could still have your ear piercings intact with this rule.

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Body Art

The number of people getting tattoos each year continues to increase. Even so, many companies still frown on workers who indulge in this form of self-expression while on the job. If your employer has a policy against donning a permanent tattoo you could compromise by wearing temporary tattoos. They are safer than permanent body ink and can come off easily if you must undergo a safety inspection or some other corporate scrutiny. You could also wear these designs without the fear of suffering an allergic reaction or staining your skin as you would with real tattoos.


Even if your place of business has strict rules about the clothes you can wear to work, you could still dare to show your fashion flare with colorful or patterned clothing. For example, if you wait tables and must wear slacks and a button down shirt, you can perhaps choose slacks that have nice pleats or textured buttons, as well as a shirt that is bright and colorful.


Your workplace might have buttoned-down rules about the way you can dress, style your hair, or show off your style preferences. To avoid losing your job and increase the likelihood of a promotion, channel your creativity into clever ways to bridge the gap between your company persona and your aesthetic passions. It is possible to be comfortable in your own skin without violating your employer’s dress code and safety rules. The “you” you showcase at work doesn’t have to clash with the real you.

Writer LaGeris Underwood Bell offers this article as encouragement to those flamboyant free-spirits who must be strapped into a corporate straight-jacket in matters of fashion and style. Remember that with hair, clothes, or a tattoo you are still you on the inside, no matter what your outward appearance projects.

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