This is a great read. I’m not sure why all of the comments seem to be about Obama, but don’t let that take away from what the author has ta say.
We are living in a world that has turned judging others into an art form. On the whole, as a nation, we still judge skin color and perceived sexual orientation. Judging a person as ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ has been elevated to an actual putdown – rather than an American institution of political freedom. We judge people who make a decision to live in the city or those who choose to live in the suburbs.
It seems that we are actively looking for new excuses to judge others. And, today, the continued judgment of those with visible tattoos serves as yet another reminder that we are quick to make judgments based on outwardly signs, rather than the content of a person’s character.
In the wake of my recent Tattoos and Employment post, there is a big story making the rounds about a woman who was denied employment by Air New Zealand because of a Ta Moko (traditional Maori tattoo) on her forearm which violates the company’s no visible tattoos policy.
Air New Zealand stood by its policy yesterday, saying it was primarily a tourist business and many cultures would consider tattoos frightening or intimidating.
National Party MP Tau Henare had four tattoos, two of which would breach the airline’s policy.
He said Air New Zealand was displaying a double standard.
“If somebody’s got a koru on their arm, is that going to scare the tourists? I think it’s a bit rich that Air NZ … are outlawing on their staff something that’s on the tail of the plane.”
He felt there should be some leniency for traditional tattoos.
As a follow-up to this story The New Zealand Herald is currently conducting a poll to capture their readers feelings towards tattoos. With over 13,000 votes so far, a large portion of respondents say that they don’t want to see tattoos and would prefer that people kept them covered. 11% actually responded that they “despise” tattoos and won’t associate with anyone with tattoos. This survey clearly shows that there are lots of people out there who would prefer that tattoos are covered. Air New Zealand is running a business and the needs and wants of their customers need to be a top priority.
What makes this case different than cases like it in the U.S. or other countries is that tattoos are an integral part of Maori culture. The New Zealand Civil Rights Association states: “Traditional Māori moko is an expression of and celebration of Māori culture and identity. A person of Māori descent may not be denied employment, entry to premises, or declined service because they wear moko visibly.”
It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.
Articles about tattoos in the workplace have been popping up everywhere and I have received a number of emails from engineering students who are questioning how tattoos might affect their chances of getting a job after graduation.
Every time the topic of tattoos and employment is brought up I give the same answers, so I thought it was time to write a little more about it. Referring back to one of my earlier posts which is now well over 2 years old, Some Basic Tattoo Advice, I said this
Think about how tattoo placement will effect your possibility of future employment. Qualified or not, I doubt these guys are going to be hired any time soon.
Short article discussing the appropriate age for tattoos and piercings.
With over 900 comments and counting, there is quite a debate going on. The most popular comment by far is one by someone talking about not hiring people because of their visible tattoos.
I have interviewed many men and women in their 20′s and 30′s for professional positions that they lost out on because their tattoos became visible.
Of course, the people trying to interview for a professional job with a pierced nose or tongue just baffle me.
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.