Whether an employer’s decision to ban employees with tattoos at work is justified or if the issue should be reconsidered is one of the current major concerns of the professional industry.
The problem was highlighted when an Aussie woman, Chontelle McGoldrick, was denied a job because she has a tattoo on her right ankle. She got it when she was 18 years old. She also has another tattoo on the side of her torso. According to the job seeker, the tattoo was never a problem before this.
McGoldrick said that she applied at Qantas and Emirates for a job as flight attendant in early 2016 but both rejected her because of the tattoos on her body. “Both airlines said they wanted to offer me a position but they couldn’t because of my tattoo,” McGoldrick told a media outlet. “They said some cultures and religions find them offensive, so I was told to come back when it’s completely gone and there can’t be any scarring or marks.”
The job aspirant said she had worked in an orthodontist’s office as well as in a health food store but the tattoo never mattered to them. However, the airlines said that if the tattoos were removed, it would help her get jobs in the future as “I’m already on their records.”
Employers are free to do recruitments based on what they find is best suited for their companies. According to News.com.au, they can consider the dress code and appearance of the interviewees but they cannot discriminate on the basis of caste, creed, religion, gender, color, age, etc. The employer, as stated by the victim, said that a tattooed employee might invite cultural and religious criticism, which proved that discrimination was done on the basis of race.
The Equal Opportunity Act (2010) in Victoria does not allow an employer to discriminate on the basis of one’s “physical features.” These features include weight, height, size or other bodily characteristics of a person. As for a tattoo, it represents “other bodily characteristics.”
According to HC Online, an employer is allowed to enforce such policy of no tattoo only if it is in accordance with the legal obligations. The reasonableness of the policy will ultimately determine if the no tattoo at work policy is justified.