Should Tattoos and Piercings Stop You from Getting Hired?

Hiring discrimination is all too common, but it doesn’t make it legal. So, should having tattoos and piercings stop you from getting hired? Learn more about what you can do to keep an employer from discriminating against you if you have tattoos and piercings.

Should Tattoos and Piercings Stop You from Getting Hired

A little over a month ago one of my good friends came to me with a concern about the non-success she’d been experiencing in her career search.

Being that she’s an educated, pretty and well-qualified college graduate, I couldn’t understand why any employer would want to pass up the opportunity to hire her.

So, we put our heads to pinpoint the source of the issue. Over the next three interviews, I had her write down the questions hiring managers were asking her that were outside of the typical “What can you bring to the organization?” and “Out of all the candidates, why should I hire you?”

And soon we were able to identify the ‘deal-breaker’: Her tattoos.

Like clockwork, employers were passing on the opportunity to hire her because of her 14 tattoos.

Make no mistake, her tattoos are in no manner obscene, vulgar, discriminatory, racist or gang-related; however, somehow every single employer managed to focus on the fact that she has tattoos, rather than the measures that could be taken to make them inconspicuous.

So, this brings us to the question: Should tattoos and piercings stop you from getting hired?

Labor and Discrimination Laws

I’m guessing about 9 out of 10 people who bear tattoos and unconventional body piercings will answer “No” to that question.

Unfortunately, you’re wrong. Employers are well within their rights to avoid hiring persons with tattoos or body piercings.

Currently, there are no labor or discrimination laws that explicitly protect persons with tattoos and body piercings. This means that employers are free to avoid hiring your if you have tattoos or piercings and have the right to fire an employee who refuses to cover up tattoos or remove piercings at the request of the employer.

Why This Isn’t Seen as Discrimination

Every employer has the right to establish a dress code for their organization. And though tattoos and piercings are seen as a part of the culture in today’s society, if they do not fit into the organization’s dress code, the employer can exercise their right to either refuse employment or fire an employee.

How to Get Hired or Keep your Job if You Have Tattoos and/or Body Piercings

Other than these two basic options:

  1. Cover up or remove tattoos or piercings at the request of the employer
  2. Find an employer who is comfortable with employing people with tattoos and/or piercings

There aren’t many other options extended to you for getting hired or keeping your job. But, despite the employers who don’t condone tattoos and body piercings, there are plenty of employers who do and actually encourage it, such as alternative shops and cocktail bars.


We all know that it doesn’t seem right to deny employment based solely on the fact that a person has a little body art or a few body piercings. But until labor or discrimination laws are changed to reflect our opinion, you have to take the necessary steps to ensuring your employment or chances of getting hired aren’t at risk.

Take my friend, for example. After we discovered that her tattoos were the reason she wasn’t getting hired, she took it upon herself to initiate the conversation with the next employer about her tattoos and how they wouldn’t interfere with or violate the dress code.

Needless to say, she was hired within a week.

Have you been discriminated against due to having tattoos or piercings? Let us know about it by leaving a comment below.


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