The question of whether visible tattoos are acceptable in a corporate law firm was raised by a UK legal blog last year, which resulted in a majority of respondents saying visible tats were not on for London firms.
The popularity of tats in New Zealand is such that many lawyers – including those in corporate law firms – have them, and on visible display often.
But do they count against anyone seeking employment in a corporate firm?
Most probably, says one law recruiter spoken to by LawFuel. “They aren’t going to help your chances of scoring a decent job unless you’re CV and academic record is so exceptional that your ‘crown and anchor’ neck tat is able to be overlooked. But even then, you would be struggling with any of our major firms in my view”.
A recent report in the UK showed that lawyers are not the only ones who are skeptical about tattoos in the workplace.
The report noted:
The results paint a rather ugly picture of tattoo perceptions. We found that 64% thought that tattoos were undesirable features in candidates, a figure that represents a significant potential to be discriminated out of a position. This becomes especially worrying when pitched against the finding that over half of respondents (54%) would rather hire the non-tattooed candidate when faced with two candidates of the same ability, the only difference being that one was tattooed.
There have been reports in the UK and elsewhere that companies, including law firms, may be missing out on recruiting talented staff due to “outdated attitudes” towards those with a tattoo.
It argued that a third of young people have a tattoo, but some companies and individual managers were still worried about the image it would give to potential customers.
“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,” Stephen Williams, Acas head of Equality, said.
The ‘tattoo report’ indicated that no legislation protects tattooed workers, as is the case in New Zealand also.
unless those tattoos for religious or cultural reasons covered by other protected characteristic legislations. As a result, a tattooed candidate would find it extremely hard, if not impossible, to contest any suspicions that their tattoos were the reason behind not being hired.
In fact, it is currently quite simple to cite tattoos as a reason not only to decline a position, but to actually fire an existing employee
The issue is still open. So what is your view? Tats or not?