Tattoos – do employers really care?

Tattoos are more popular than ever and with tattoo parlours in Bournemouth and the rest of the country springing up on ever corner, body art is no longer relegated to the perceived ‘fringes’ of society. Indeed at our Bournemouth laser clinic, we see everyone and anyone from mums at home, to bankers and RAF pilots seeking laser tattoo removal.

The increase of tattoo parlours and tattoo studios in Bournemouth has also inevitably seen a rise in laser tattoo removal enquiries. The reasons for wanting to remove a tattoo vary enormously, but at Laser Skin Solutions we see a large percentage of clients who need to remove their tattoos in order to secure their dream job. Some of our clients have been turned down at both the application and interview stage and told to return once their tattoo has been removed.

So does having a tattoo really hinder your chances at securing employment? Despite the increase (and apparent increasing acceptance) of tattoos and body art, a survey by found that 85% of employers said that having a tattoo would affect a candidate’s chances of securing employment.

Tattoos are a strong form of self-expression and for many people, their tattoos carry a lot of meaning. The problem is, your future employer may not consider your choice of self-expression to be in line with their corporate image and the ‘meaning’ behind your art may be completely lost on them. It may surprise you to know that being turned down for a position due to having a tattoo is not considered discrimination in the eyes of the law. Under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2000, workers have no protection under discrimination legislation for having a tattoo. Body art does not qualify as “severe disfigurements that are treated as having a substantial adverse effect on the ability of the person concerned to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

So with no protection from the DDA 2000, unless your tattoo carries some religious significance (and you could prove this) currently employers are within their lawful rights to deny you your dream job.

So why ‘think before you ink’? Surely you can just remove tattoos with laser should you have a change of heart, right? Wrong! Yes you absolutely can have laser tattoo removal should you change your mind, but laser tattoo removal is a lengthy process and body art is not something that can be removed over night or even within weeks. It takes months, sometimes a couple of years to remove a tattoo properly. Some tattoo ink colours can’t be removed at all, like yellows, turquoises, purples and orange. The easiest tattoo colours to remove with laser tattoo removal are black and red, and sometimes greens if you are able to find a laser clinic with a Ruby laser. The Ruby laser was the first laser hair removal machine and is now considered to be very old technology for permanent hair removal due to the side effects it can cause. When Q-Switched, the Ruby can treat green tattoos, but as most clinics discover, it’s an extremely expensive piece of kit to buy (we’re talking tens of thousands) when it can only treat green tattoos.

Our advice has always been ‘think before you ink’ but not in terms of whether you should ink at all. To keep your future career options open, you may decide to have your tattoo inked on an area of your body that can be easily covered up should you wish to do so. If you want to wear short sleeves in the summer for instance, a full sleeve tattoo may not be the best option. For many people feet and ankle tattoos are a good option, but even then it can occasionally cause problems. A laser tattoo removal client at our Bournemouth laser clinic discovered he couldn’t get his dream job on a super yacht because he would spend most of the day barefoot. Although clearly qualified, he was rejected due to the 4 tattoos on his feet. He is currently having these removed, but his career in the Bahamas has had to be put on hold.

At the end of the day, it’s your body and your life and we live in a free country. Ironically however, we do see many cases at our Bournemouth laser clinic where such freedoms of expression end up hindering and limiting career choices for people.

So do employers really care if you have a tattoo? From our experience, yes, they absolutely do.

For your free, no obligation laser tattoo removal consultation, please contact us or call us on 01202 985 029

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