"Don't fall on the wrong side of the law with dress codes."
Workplace experts Acas have published new research on dress codes which shows that employers risk losing talented young employees due to concerns about hiring people who have visible tattoos.
Their report found that young people are the most affected, as one in three young adults have tattoos.
Acas is an employer’s advice group who aim to provide support so good relationships between employers and employees are maintained. They have reported that people should begin to change their attitude towards tattoos and embrace a more relaxed dress code.
Their study found that negative attitudes towards tattoos and piercing from managers and employees can influence the outcome of recruitment exercises within some workplaces.
“Almost a third of young people now have tattoos so, whilst it remains a legitimate business decision, a dress code that restricts people with tattoos might mean companies are missing out on talented workers,” reports Acas Head of Equality Stephen Williams.
With younger generations being more subjected to getting tattoos, as well as Asian’s embracing them, it is concerning that employers still reject people based on what is tattooed on their possible employee’s skin.
The independent report also revealed that some public sector workers felt that people would not have confidence in the professionalism of a person with a visible tattoo.
They also found out that some private sector employers, from law firms to removal companies, all raised concerns about visible tattoos in relation to perceived negative attitudes of potential clients or customers.
Currently, the UK law states workers have no protection under discrimination legislation for having a tattoo, and in 2012 it was reported that 1.5 million Brits get tattoos each year.
Acas advises employers to not discriminate and thus have updated their dress code regulations page, relying on several cases which caused a stir, to ensure businesses “don’t fall on the wrong side of the law with their dress codes.”
“Businesses are perfectly within their right to have rules around appearance at work but these rules should be based on the law where appropriate, and the needs of the business, not managers’ personal preferences.
“We know that employers with a diverse workforce can reap many business benefits as they can tap into the knowledge and skills of staff from a wide range of backgrounds,” says Williams.
Tattoos are now regarded as more of an appreciative art form and are more popular than they once were. It is a prevailing issue to whether or not employers are acceptive towards them or if they hinder those looking for jobs.
You can look at Acas’ dress code guidelines here.