Visible Tattoos

Is it legal for an employer to prohibit visible tattoos? We have a few employees with ankle or leg tattoos that may show if they wear skirts or capris. The president wants "no visible tattoos". I'm a little leary. Quick feedback would be appreciated!



  • 8 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I believe you can ask for the tattoos to be covered by either clothing or bandages as long as you are not encroaching on the "spiritual or religious beliefs" of the employee (ie Church of Body Modification, henna tattoos and the like). You also need to consider whether there is a legitimate business need for this - is the president worried about tattoos offending customers? Is he worried about tattoos offending other employees?

    There are several court cases on this subject. Do a quick search and I'm sure you could find something similar to your workplace situation.
  • If your organization is in the public eye or has frequent business guests that might object then you can prohibit visable tattoos. I have a friend who does clerical work and has a number of them (which I do not get). She has always had to cover them up in any business she worked in.

    Also, some tattoos might be offensive to other employees. It is better to keep them covered in a business setting. If you are a manufacturer you might have more trouble making your case. Dress codes should be based upon business necessity.

    Good luck!

  • We are a bank. The tattoos in question are not religious tattoos (child's name or flowers). The president doesn't like the image they seem to portray. I don't see the business need to cover up ankle/calf tattoos, but I think we'd open up a can of worms, if we aren't already, by defining where they are allowed and where they aren't.
  • A bank setting is as public as you get. I would put in a no visable tattoo policy immediately. Banks make their money based upon their image which is usually very professional and trustworthy. Tattoos currently fall short of this image. Unless your bank wants to go with 'we are a fun and friendly place' to lure the young crowd, I would ban them as soon as possible.

    Btw, my friend has 2 ankle tattoos. She has to wear slacks to cover them up. Some of her pants require her to wear dark hose with shoes so that she can keep the tattoos covered (pants rise when she sits). It really limits her work wardrobe, but it is the choice she made when she decided to go for the ankle tattoos.

    Also, I would definitely stay away from you can show them here but not there idea. What if the one that needs to be covered is a sweet little flower or kid's name and the one that gets shown is vulgar or obscene? Just keep them all covered.

    Good luck!

  • We are also a bank, 150 years old and very conservative and not about to change. We have it listed in our dress code that tattoos cannot be visable. So far this has not been a problem with any ee. Good luck.
  • FYI - My grandson is in 2nd grade. Grade School Dress Code for grades K-4 says "No visible tattoos". But boys can have "neat trimmed mustaches". These are 5-9 year olds for pete's sake!
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 08-22-07 AT 06:45AM (CST)[/font][br][br]We are a credit union with a "Tattoos and body piercing (other than earrings) should not be visible" policy. No problems to speak of. I read some stats the other day that said 4 out of 10, 19 to 26 year olds have tattoos and 6 out of 10 have a body piercing other than earrings. That seems very high to me.
  • We are a bank as well. We have a "no visible tattoos" policy and have had no problems with it. We do periodically have to remind folks. I tell them, "I cover mine, you have to cover yours."
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