Ariel Rivera, back home from college, thought she’d landed the perfect summer job — until the topic of conversation turned to tattoos.
The 20-year-old Bethlehem resident with a big smile and a wholesome demeanor had made it to her second interview to be a ride operator at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom but was suddenly dismissed after mentioning that she had a tattoo on the back of her neck.
And while U.S. law bars discrimination based on race, national origin, gender, age and disability, tattoos don’t fit into any of those categories.
“No judge is going to buy that,” Sigmon said. “They don’t have a right to a discrimination claim [either].”
The only recourse, for some, is laser ink removal — a potentially expensive and time-consuming procedure.
This is the reality of being tattooed. Employers have the right to not hire you because you have tattoos. You may think it is discrimination, but it is essentially the same as enforcing a dress code. You were not born with tattoos and in most cases nobody forced you to go get them.
No matter how widely accepted tattoos become there will still be people who look at them in a negative way. A business owner needs to understand their customer base and if they determine that tattoos would be bad for business, they can make a policy banning all visible tattoos. Just like they can require employees to wear a uniform, or come to work in a suit and tie every day.
Can these policies be frustrating and prevent certain people from getting jobs? Yes.
Is it discrimination? No.
I think people, especially younger people, don’t always grasp the concept of permanent and we are seeing the consequences as more and more are experiencing this type of trouble while out job hunting. A tattoo is a serious commitment and an appropriate amount of thought must be put into that decision.