Need Help With Tattoo Policy

I am hoping someone can help me out with a tattoo policy......

Currently we do not have a policy regarding tattoos, however, we would like to implement one.  We would at the very least like to make the general rule that no tattoos are allowed if they are visible...especially if you are in front of a customer.  It would seem easy enough to write a policy for our outside sales associates since they are in front of our customers but we have a couple of truck drivers who have many tattoos that are visible and even if they wore long sleeve shirts, the tattoos would be visible because they run down their hands to their fingers.  They are at customer sites just like the outside sales folks, however, they only are in the loading docks and not running around the customer site or in front of the owners or managers.  How do I make a general policy that doesn't discriminate against one group or the other.

I also don't know how to address the inside office associates who have tattoos but never see the customer.  We really don't want to see their tattoos either just because we don't think it looks professional but again, where do you draw the line?  Currently all of the men who work inside who have tattoos, have kept them covered up, however, we have one female employee who has one on her hand and one on her breast that you can see depending on what she wears to work.  Can I say the one on her ring finger is okay but all others need to be covered up?  I don't want to discriminate against the men by making them stay covered up when I have a female who has her hand tattoos visible (they are small and discreet, for what it is worth).

How can I write about a policy that encompasses all of the above without discriminating any of the above employees?  While I am at it, I would also like to address piercings in the same manner.  The same female associate with the tattoos, has multiple face piercings in addition to multiple ear piercings.  Again, she doesn't see the customer so we have allowed her to get away with it but it has made it hard to address the males who have just ear piercings and we want them to take out the earring in case they come into contact with a customer.  We always feel like our hands are tied.

 any help you can provide, is greatly appreciated.


  • 3 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • You will have to make reasonable accommodations for the religious beliefs and practices of your employees.  Tattoos and piercings are part of some religious practices. Keep in mind that the criteria for whether it is a religious belief is whether it is "sincerely held" by the individual.You should make sure the policy establishes the same rules for both men and women. Saying women can have a visible tattoo on their back but not allowing men to have the same could get you into trouble. You can have different rules for different types of employees (those with customer contact versus those with no customer contact) but it should be based on a business reason otherwise you might risk creating a disparate impact scenario.
  • Do you have any recommendations about the difference between the truck drivers and the outside sales associates?  Both are at customer sites, however, the drivers are only in the loading dock area whereas the sales associates are in the offices in front of the customer/managers.  And can we make the driver who has tattoos visible on his hand, cover them up since even long sleeves wouldn't cover them up.  I know it probably doesn't matter but that tattoos on his hand are just his cildren's name, it is nothing offensive.  But if I want the female to cover her tattoos, I know I would need him to cover his tattoos.

     thanks for all your help.

  • Preamble paragraph about having a policy on tattoos that differs according to the context of each employee's type of work, with a specific eye on their contact with the public, clients, and clients' customers. 


    The following policy on tattoos and piercings applies to sales staff:


    The following policy on tattoos and piercings applies to office staff:

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