No Work For You If You’ve Got A Tattoo

As anyone can tell I haven’t been around lately. I’ve been distracted recently. Distracted and busy. I’m having trouble prioritizing my time and at the moment I’m feeling like there’s not enough hours in a day. I mean, how am I supposed to work for 8 hours a day, leaving my house at 7am and not getting back to my area till about 6pm, go shopping, cook, eat dinner, wash up AND go Pokemon hunting in one day? At the moment Pokehunting seems to be coming a close second with my free time. I’d rather go out than eat. But, that’s another post for another time.

This post is about something completely different. Anyone who knows me knows I listen to talk back radio a lot. Most people don’t understand why I enjoy it so much especially since a lot of the shows are hosted by 50+ year old males who have rather conservative ideas and a lot of the callers are either 45-90 year olds. I like the differing of opinions. I like the angry callers and the topics brought up. I find that I usually agree with a lot of the what the hosts say. I’m kind of conservative in my own way yet no one would be able to tell from my exterior. But one of the reasons I love listening to talk back radio is the conversation it brings up. Sometimes I get so riled up I have to call someone and tell them what I think about a particular topic or Daniel will find himself the victim of a big long speech that would put any politician to shame. So, because I don’t want to bother people and I think I have enough argument in me to write, here I am. About to journey on a tirade that is my opinion on a topic. Today, that topic is:

Visible Tattoos

This subject comes up from a story about a 21 year old female who at the age of 18 got a tattoo on the inside of her ankle. This tattoo, no bigger than a 10 cent (Australian) coin is of an anchor. FYI, 10 cents is pretty small. So she went for a couple interviews in the aviation field with the dream of becoming an air hostess. The airlines she interviewed for was Qantas and Emirates. Judging from the story it seems like the companies were interested in her however there was a tiny 10 cent problem…. The tattoo! Which brings up the question: should employers have the right to discriminate a person based on their choice to tattoo themselves?


Under the Anti Discrimination Act of QLD it does state:

Physical appearance is not a protected attribute in Queensland. This means an employer can refuse to employ you because you have tattoos, purple hair, piercings, dreadlocks, etc. or because of your standard of dress.

Of course there are the cases that under absolutely NO reasons at all can an employer discriminate:

However, a requirement that an employee have a particular appearance might be discriminatory if it excludes people because of their age, race, sex, or other protected attribute – for example, an airline wanting only younger looking female cabin crew. The issue would be whether the requirement is genuinely necessary to perform the role. 
It would also be unlawful to refuse to employ someone because of a physical feature associated with an impairment – for example, a scar or a disfiguring mark or disease.

Bring something like race and culture into the mix with a visible tattoo. For example a Maori person who tend to get inked for cultural reasons. That would be discrimination. And rightfully so. I can understand that some business have a look that they want their staff to convey to the customer and that’s completely understandable. There’s careers and jobs that I agree shouldn’t be hiring staff with visible tattoos such as maybe a law firm, judge, politician, receptionist (unless it’s at a tattoo shop)? I know some people have said that they would feel uneasy if their nurse or doctor had some ink showing. Again, I understand but I would have to say that is kind of ridiculous seeing as though that person is there to potentially save your life. Would they feel uncomfortable if they were on the floor having a heart attack and the only person there who could help them was someone with tattoos?

Another subject in the Fair Work Act was discrimination due to weight:

The only time it might be unlawful is if you have no control over your weight because of a medical condition. If a requirement is imposed about weight and you can’t comply because of your medical condition, it might be unlawful discrimination. It will depend whether the requirement is reasonable, and if it is in the context or work, whether it is a genuine occupational requirement.

Again, this is all fine however I can’t help but bring it back to the employer and the image they want to convey. A fitness store would want to have staff who perceive to be “fit”, healthy, active people. Would hiring someone who unfortunately is obese due to a health condition convey that sort of message to a customer? For all intent and purposes a person who is tattooed is just as able to complete a task or provide a service as well as someone who may be over weight but it all comes back to the customers view on the brand… yeah?

One of the reasons that was given to this girl with the tattoo as to why they couldn’t hire her was because some religious people are sensitive and offended by the site of a tattoo. I always hate any argument that brings a religious point of view into the mix yet only when it suits peoples reasons. For example, gay marriage and public breastfeeding. We can readily change laws and ways in which we work or live to suit someone’s religion yet when we’re faced with another situation it’s basically “tough titties”. 

  1. Don’t want to change the law on gay marriage because of the traditional religious values behind it.
  2. Public breastfeed?? No sorry it has to be done! If you see a breast you’re a pervert and too bad about your religious beliefs in regards to seeing a woman’s breast. 

Am I the only one who understands what I’m saying here? 

I’m not religious in anyway but again can understand certain situations. But as we all know there are REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAL strict beliefs in some religions such as Islam where men can’t SEE a woman unless it’s his wife and females must be modestly covered or covered completely. Then we have a woman sitting on a bench with her breast out. Dude feels “unclean” and suddenly has a religious melt down and…. Yeah, I’m sure you can see where this is going. As for my “breast out” line for anyone who thinks it’s a little bit of an exaggeration. C’mon, we’ve all seen at least one woman out there breastfeeding who doesn’t feel the need to be modest and will get it out without hesitation. That’s when it goes from being a “bonding experience” to sharing it with everyone.

I guess my question is, why do we have to be sensitive and careful to not offend certain groups of people with one situation and not the other? 

So, with all this information we basically learnt that of course, a potential employer CAN reject you because of your appearance granted that your appearance isn’t something you can control. In my case I basically tick all the boxes for an “After careful consideration, we regret to inform you that you have not been selected for this position” email.

  • Abnormal colored hair – ✔️
  • Piercings – ✔️
  • Visible Tattoos – ✔️

At this rate it’s looking like I’ll never get a job (even though I currently have one).

In my own case, I believe I have been “discriminated” against due to my appearance once or twice. Does it bother me? Not really? Again because I understand if a company has an image they want to maintain. In saying that I have never had a problem getting a job and can pick one up real quick if need be. I’m lucky in that respect (it’s my shining personality :D). I kind of have put this luck down to the fact that yes, appearance wise I may not be the first pick however a lot of the jobs I would go for are things I have 10 years’ experience in and if I’m dealing with customers…. I have an accent! YES! I know that may sound ridiculous but a lot of my employment history has been in the customer service industry where I do need to talk. Employers love the fact that I have an accent and maybe that’s a discrimination in itself. But it’s one that works in my favour cause let’s face it, clearly my appearance wouldn’t win it for me. Not only that but if you look back at my employment history I stick with jobs.

When going for an interview I always try my best to show that I’m more than just my “out there” exterior. I do have visible tattoos on my fingers so I always try my best to hide my hand (or at least one. I always put my best hand forward…. Get it!!??). People can moan about piercings but those can come out and do. It’s not until I’m in the job till I sneak them back in haha.

Years ago, maybe about 4 years ago, I was fed up with the job I was at and decided to do some applying. I ended up getting an interview with an insurance broker doing customer service over the phone. So not doing face to face customer service. I remember having the interview, it actually went great. Me and the chick who conducted it got on so well and we actually ended up talking about our partners and their interest in video games (don’t know how we got there but we got there). I felt so confident and real upbeat cause it was such a chill interview. I went back to my other job cause the interview wasn’t far from where I was working and my boss (who was awesome) asked about it. Later on that day I got a phone call from the HR department from the broker. Apparently this lady who wasn’t even in the interview with me had to call and say “So it’s come to my attention that you have a couple facial piercings”. She wasn’t wrong but she didn’t know I took most of them out. But she wanted to call and ask “are you planning on getting anymore?” to which I replied “No, I’m pretty sure I have enough”. She then went on to say “Oh good because if you were thinking of getting anymore you would have to run it past the HR department first”. That was the first time in my life I actually felt like…. Hmmm… And I’m a person who doesn’t like being told what to do lol.

I told my boss about the phone call and he actually turned around and said “is that the sort of company you want to work for?” And that basically made up my mind to decline the job.

I guess there’s only a couple other points I want to touch on before ending this.

I kind of feel like discriminating against someone with a tiny tattoo or tattoos in general providing their not offensive is already limiting people in regards to finding employment. People who don’t have the skill set or education already have a hard time finding a job. A tattooed person who may have the skills, education and experience is suddenly lumped in with the job seekers of Australia having to apply for welfare benefits purely because of their appearance?? That doesn’t sit too well with me. Tattoos in my opinion do not prevent someone from providing a service, from being good at a job. It’s not a distraction (maybe if it’s involving a face to face role but again I’ve already mentioned how that can be understandable). There are plenty of people who have accomplished great things WHILE being tattooed and in no way does being tattooed represent someone’s intelligence, understanding or even education (unless that person has had their work done from a backyard tattooist. You can always tell those ones).

Here I am making it seem like suddenly anyone who goes for a job and ticks any of these self-inflicted appearance boxes will automatically be disqualified for a position. Of course that’s not going to happen. And with this case of The Girl with the Anchor Tattoo it’s clear that she was discriminated against because of the role she was going for (even though Qantas has said that the small tattoo wouldn’t be a reason to not hire her??). The end result to her story is she’s looking to get it removed to prevent something like this from happening again. One of the airlines has suggested she do this then reapply as they had her record on file yet the girl said she was also advised that “there can’t be any scarring or marks” due to the removal of the tattoo. Hmmmm… I’m assuming that advise was from Emirates. Good luck with that one.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyways, in conclusion, don’t get a tattoo lol. No, I still say do what you want to do. Just think about future plans. It took me YEARS to get a tattoo. It was 2 years of thinking about it but always wanting it and then a year of researching the perfect tattooist for the work, style and design I wanted. And of course, don’t forget to think about future job prospects. This is the exact reason why I don’t have all the tattoos I want because I know it would hinder my searching.

JUST BE SMART with your choice of self-expression. Also, sources are below. 

Employers Reject Applicant

Anti-Discrimination Act QLD


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