Should tattoos be 'covered'?
Posted by Ms. Susan Looney, SVP Human Resources, Credit Union Resources, Inc on 7/12/2013

Last week I was at my regular Zumba class at the gym.  While in class, I started to notice that the people in front of me had some interesting tattoos.  I started to then look around the room and noticed that I was in the minority with having no visible tattoos.  The age range in the room ran from 21 – 65 and people from different backgrounds.  I even noticed a person with a tattoo of the Zumba logo on her ankle.  This got me to thinking how common tattoos are these days and how accepting they are for all ages. 

It has also been a common topic of conversation between me and credit union CEO’s of late.  The issue being discussed is should they relax their appearance policy to start to allow visible tattoos.  With tattoos becoming so common, the issue of having people cover them up is becoming more difficult.  Recently at a grocery store, the clerk had a large bandage on their neck/face.  They said that they had to cover up the tattoo at work.  I felt that the bandage was more of a distraction than the tattoo itself.  

According to a recent study, more than 45 million people in the US have at least one tattoo with 40 percent of those between ages 26 and 40 with tattoos.  This number is higher than I thought.  Now many of these are not visible, but of the 45 million, how many are visible?  With these numbers and percentages, it is prudent for credit unions to start to rethink their policies to be more flexible on tattoos?   Depending on what and where the tattoo is, would a credit union accept a visible tattoo?

I do think it is important for credit unions to regularly review all policies, but especially ones like dress code that changes with the times.  Take a serious look at your employee population, your membership, and your culture.  Is it time to be a little more lenient or is your membership and culture not ready for any changes?


Comments (3)
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Posted by Kay Rankin-Swan - Ward County Teachers CU on 7/15/2013 12:31 PM:
The last four new employees I have hired over the past 5 years (2 here and 2 gone on their own choice - new job) have had tatoos. I was not aware of them, so they are not openly visable. I have began to "think" about this because I am aware that fewer new hires come without any "ink"!
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Posted by Jane Fitzgerald on 7/15/2013 12:35 PM:
We had that same comment made here recently: the bandage(s) is far more distracting that the tattoo(s) would be, barring anything lewd or obscene, especially on a young person who is otherwise extremely well groomed/well dressed. I always wonder how many times per day that person has to explain, "No, I wasn't in a terrible accident." My husband is a VietNam vet - got his bicep tattoo of a naked lady while in SE Asia, but he is smart enough to wear long sleeved shirts to church or to visit my parents! Can we not give our employees enough credit for similar discretion? On a related note, why can women have pierced ears, but the men cannot? Just my 2 cents!
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Posted by WALTER FURNACE on 7/15/2013 12:46 PM:
On the subject of tattoos in the workplace. I agree that tattoos are becoming common place and use by a wide age range of members and employees. As a manager I am not ready to relax the policy of tattoos in the work place. I still support that they be covered. Any employee who displays a large tattoo that is difficult to cover in the workplace exposes themselves to a limited employment opportunity.
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