Tattoos, piercings and bright hair in the workplace.

As many of you know, blogging isn’t my only job.  I also work in retail.  The store I work for has relatively strict policies on how employees must present themselves at work. I have to wear a uniform at all times, I’m not allowed to dye my hair any ‘extreme’ colours, facial piercings are not allowed, and employees are not supposed to have visible tattoos.

It should come as no surprise to you that strict dress codes get up my nose.  I don’t like being told what to wear.  However, I do need to earn a bit of cash to pay for important things like bills and food, so I can suck it up and wear my darn uniform.  In my mind, uniforms make sense: they send a message to the customer about which people in the shop actually work there, and often the garments that are required serve safety as well as aesthetic purposes.

While I can understand the utility of a uniform, I despise dress codes that exclude things like unnatural hair colours, piercings and tattoos.

It makes perfect sense to me why an employee should be required to wear closed-toed shoes, or have their hair tied back when working with food.  These rules are in place to keep the employee safe, and to make sure that they do their job properly.  I am yet to see an instance where a person’s tattoos have impaired their ability to carry out their duties.  The fact that a person has hot-pink hair doesn’t make them less capable of performing well at their job than a person with mousy-brown hair.  Body modification in all it’s forms has become extremely common, and there are all kinds of people who decorate themselves with body art.  An armload of tattoos doesn’t mean that you’re outgoing; I know plenty of extremely shy women who are festooned with tatts.  Similarly, having coloured hair doesn’t make you raucous or lewd.  Some of the most polite, ambitious and well-educated people I know have some kind of body modification.  They are the type of people that you’d employ in a heartbeat.

So why is it that employees continue to discriminate against people with tattoos, coloured hair or body piercings?  I had one employer tell me that it ‘makes the customers uncomfortable’.  Apparently, a lot of customers have a problem being served by a person with a tattoo, even if that person does an awesome job.  So, isn’t refusing to hire a person with tattoos simply pandering to that prejudice?  To me, that’s like saying, “Oh, we have a lot of customers who are racist, so we won’t hire anyone with a foreign accent”.  By allowing that prejudice to inform the decisions you make, you’re sending the message that it’s O.K to behave like a bigot.

And why is it that some body modifications are alright, but not others?  For example, why isn’t there a company policy banning employees who are positively orange from over-tanning?  Why can a woman with bleached-blonde hair come to work without being hassled, but the woman with blue hair can’t?   Is it because they’re more mainstream?  Why are these things O.K, but tattoos and piercings are still frowned upon in the workplace?

In a lot of cases, the way we present ourselves is a form of self-expression.  A person might get a tattoo because it represents something that is significant to them, or they might dye their hair their favourite colour because it makes them smile.  The way we decorate our bodies says something about who we are, and by saying “you can’t come to work dressed like that’, what employers are really saying is “we don’t want someone like you working here”.  That’s never a nice thing to hear.

I think that employers need to re-evaluate the message that they’re sending with their employee presentation codes.  By refusing to allow people with certain body modifications to enter employment, they’re discriminating against these people.  They’re making an assumption, based on the way a person looks, that they’re not right for that job.  And in many cases, that assumption will be totally wrong.  Refusing to employ people that look a certain way is perpetuating the cycle of prejudice against people who are different from the norm.  I think we need to start paying more attention to the person behind the tattoos, and focusing less on knee-jerk judgements based on the way a person looks.

Do you think that workplaces should have strict dress codes?  Have you even been refused a job because of the way you looked?

 

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44 thoughts on “Tattoos, piercings and bright hair in the workplace.

  1. https://www.facebook.com/The-Broken-Angels-Project-1860075807552438/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

    Hey! I came across your blog and this post is quite beautiful. Some people don’t think discrimination is the correct term to use for employers refusing to hire those with tattoos, dyed hair, etc, but it most certainly is. It’s a refusal to hire someone on the sole basis of who they are and what they look like, not to do with whether or not the person would actually be a good fit for a job as far as their skills go. It’s frustrating to me that such discrimination still exists, but it’s not only in the workplace; I feel that my dad would be the type to not allow me under his roof with dyed hair, which is disappointing to me. I’m waiting/working towards getting to a time/place in my life where I can truly be myself.

    Anyway, your blog resonates precisely with the mission of a project I’m trying to bring to light, entitled the “Broken Angels Project” (I posted a link above, but not sure if it will work). It’s mission is to encourage and empower youth to help create a more free and accepting society for self expression for/in the future, with an emphasis on in the workplace. I feel that our young generation(s) have the potential to do great things as they become adults, and then employers, so I’d like to see the project in the future create either a movement or possibly a type of business; I’m still working on finding the right path I’d like to see it take. Right now I’m just trying to spread word and awareness of it. If you’d like to check it out or give it a shout out I’d really appreciate it. I have a twitter for it also, under “@BrokenAngels29”. Thanks, love xo

    -Stacy Friesen

    • Hey, thank you so much for sharing that link. The Broken Angels Project sounds like a pretty amazing vision, and it will be awesome to see where it goes.

  2. As an employer I recruit staff. Appearances are important in every job interview like it or not, and people do form an opinion of you based on how you look initially, but as they get to know you and understand you and have a relationship with you as a friend or co-worker they see who you are inside as well. Depending on where you worked it may matter how you look and it would be incredibly important to display and show professionalism both in dress and how you speak and what you say. For example if you worked at the front desk on reception of a five star hotel in Mayfair, it would not be beneficial to the employer there to have people on reception with shocking pink hair. However, if you worked at the local Bingo Hall calling out numbers on balls, you can have complete and utter freedom with your hair colour, piercings, tattoos and all. I therefore find it entirely acceptable to have rules and regulations about how you dress and look. It is not discrimination, its just wanting your staff wether fat or thin, black or white, disabled or abled, male or female or transgender, to look presentable and approachable if they are to come into daily contact with the general public. However, working in a factory packing may ask you to wear a hair net and tie you hair back for hygiene purposes. If you still dont like it, then become and employer and then you can have the freedom to wear what you want, when you want.

    • Thank you for your comment. While I agree with you to an extent, there are a couple of points which I disagree upon. I’m not questioning whether people make snap judgements based on appearance. I accept that this is a fact. However, I believe that often those judgements are harmful and incorrect, and are based on stereotypes and biases. I think that imposing certain rules with regards to body modifications in the work place, we are perpetuating those ideas and stereotypes. If no person with pink hair or tattoos was ever given a job in a professional position, then there would be no way to disprove those ideas that a person who chooses to decorate their body in such a manner is capable of holding such a position or even thriving in that role. I think that these standards of dress give power to stereotypes and biases, and in that way they are a form of discrimination.

      Secondly, you give the example of a person on the front desk of a five star hotel. Why would it not be beneficial for that person to have bright pink hair? Why can’t bright pink hair be professional? I’ve seen many people with unnaturally-coloured hair that is styled immaculately, who wear suits and uniforms and look exceptionally professional and well-put-together. Why is it Ok for a person in that same role to have dyed blonde hair? Would it be Ok for a person with visable tattoos to hold that position, as opposed to a person who had altered the appearance of their skin with fake tan? I think that any and all body modifications can exist on the body of a person who works in a professional role, and that being pierced or tattooed isn’t the same as being scruffy or unkempt. A well-coiffed person with a professional manner who is knowledgeable and friendly would do well in a prominent role at a five-star hotel, regardless of their hair colour.

    • I haven’t read all of the other comments on here, but reading yours, DeLacey, makes me sick. Why is it so shocking to have pink hair though? Is it really that shocking in this day and age? How is someone suddenly not presentable based on the color of their hair? Isn’t this world surrounded by color? If someone wears a brown dress shirt to work or a pink dress shirt, are you suddenly “shocked” that they wore pink? “Professionalism” needs to be re-defined. Your argument is illogical. If it really is “who you are inside” that counts, as you say, then the color of your hair should not matter. People can’t change their skin color and laws are set forth so that people from all cultural backgrounds are not discriminated against based on their appearance. The same can be said for the color of your hair. What you are saying is ancient. If you really have this type of bias meeting someone you first met, you need to find another country to live in. This is the United States. This country needs to wake up and remember that the United States was founded on principals of freedom, liberty, and justice…. no matter what color your hair is. Do you think pink hair jumps out and attacks people? Is that the issue? If you’re getting attacked by pink hair, I suggest you look for help elsewhere…I know a lot of good psychiatrists.

  3. To everyone who commented:

    I commented on this post over a year ago (May of 2014, apparently), and since then i’ve had two taxable jobs that had no concern over my hair colour. The second one (still have it) is at a library, to boot, and makes me more than I could ever earn in retail. There is hope, there are people that really don’t care. A couple of my coworkers have tattoos, one has a nose stud. Keep being you and eventually you’ll find something. (But be aware that getting a job at a library is hard….I reeeeally lucked out.) And if all else fails, invest in a nice wig, cosplay sites have some for around $30-50. I still have two which I use on subsequent interviews. :0

    • It’s been almost a year since I posted here, and I now work in what is considered the most conservative city in the state of Utah. Many of my coworkers have tattoos and piercings; one even has tattoos on her neck.

      They hired me on with no concerns about hair color or my lone tattoo (my boss has tattoos, though they are not visible), and when I decided to dye my hair back to platinum blonde and dark purple, they were fully supportive.

      Today, with their blessing, I dyed my hair black and purple. 🙂 This is an office setting, and is the second highest-paying job I’ve held in my lifetime.

      • That is so rad. It’s fantastic to hear that your unique style hasn’t impeded your career path. That definitely puts a smile on my face.

  4. I’m so glad I found this blog post. I am actually going through this right now. I partially quit my job at a restaurant due to stress and unhappiness to take on a second part-time job somewhere else that had appealing hours and allowed me to be home after school with my daughter, who I was hardly seeing when I worked at the restaurant.

    I interviewed with my hair dark red, blackish brown, and with some blonde in it as well. Everything was fine for three weeks, until I got a phone call from my boss telling me that HR had contacted him and there had been “several complaints” about my hair not meeting company standards.

    I was forced to terminate myself because I refuse to change my hair color. I am even more distraught over this, because there is a girl who works there that has bright purple hair with half of her head shaved. She’s worked there for years like this, and that’s okay, but red, dark brown/black, and blonde are not? Tell me: Which of those hairstyles is more “bold”?

    • This is a really rough situation that you find yourself in. I’m so sorry that you had to leave your job and I hope you find one that’s more welcoming soon.

      It’s especially difficult when companies have dress codes that are not applied consistently to everyone. When you allow one person to dress in a bold way or have a particular hairstyle but another person is reprimanded for wearing a similar style or a bold hair colour it becomes very unfair. I’m so sorry that you were treated this way.

    • I am in a difficult position. I own a bistro wine bar and one of my cooks is constantly changing his hair, pink, purple, green, blue. Okay, whatever. Personally, I could care a less!my employee smokes cigarettes, and he is constantly, going out through the restaurant to smoke. It is disturbing to customers to see this person with an upside down cross tattooed on his face, the hair that is usually done like a troll doll and his latest is makeup. I don’t have a union or a policy that states he can’t do this. But, it is disturbing to people to see him. What do I do? I am so upset that I have to handle this. He is 46 yrs old, he’s not a kid on a whim.He takes huge enjoyment in doing this. Can somebody help me with what I should say to him?

      • Mmmmm, this is a tricky situation. I see why you are so upset. I think that the best way to deal with this would be to just have a chat with your cook. Don’t make a big deal about it, don’t treat it like a confrontation, just sit down with him and calmly explain the situation and see if the two of you can come up with a solution together. He might be very understanding and it will be so much better if the two of you can work something out rather than you laying down the law. If he isn’t receptive to that, then it might be time to set some boundaries and tell him what is and isn’t acceptable to you. Ultimately it’s your business and you are the boss, but I think the best way to handle this would be to try to work with your employee to find a solution.

  5. My family gets like this a lot. At the moment, I have turquoise hair, but in the past it has been green, pink, purple, black, bright red and wine-coloured. I dye it because it’s one of the few things that makes me feel pretty. I tend to favour blue.
    The only job I’ve ever had is being a housekeeper to my grandparents, since I’ve just never needed one till now. I have enough confidence issues as it is, and having my nosy-as-hell extended family poking into my business and trying to tell me how to run my life by “going back to a normal colour” is both annoying and disheartening. It really proves the mantra of “friends are your REAL family since they’re the ones you choose”. (And trust me when I say that my family’s intrusions make me all the more bitter since I have more education and less screw-ups in my past than they do. They’re no prize.)
    It irks and saddens me that my potential job hunting pool is so small, since I’m such a defeatist that it’s hard enough to get the courage to go look, let alone apply. I’m only going to go after places that already have someone of unusual hair colour on staff, since I am definitely not going to be the trailblazer.
    In the meantime, there’s at least a past employer of my sister’s, which is so desperate for workers they’ll take pretty much anyone. Since it’s a call centre, I don’t think they’ll care, either. And at the same time, I think I’m going to invest in a black wig.

  6. I’ve got very lucky with my current job. It’s an office job and the only dress code is, wear smart office wear, and they are perfectly fine with bright coloured hair, piercings and tattoos (as long as the tattoo is not offensive). I’m so glad to know that there are companies out there that are being more open minded about these things. It’s actually one of the incentives for me wanting to stay there for a few years.

    • That’s so fantastic that you’ve found a workplace that’s so accepting. I know several people who have found a fab workplace where they feel that they can be themselves, and all of them have mentioned that it’s one of the reasons that they intend to stay there for as long as possible. I wonder if more businesses would retain their employees if they changed their dress codes?

  7. Totally agree, too many places and including back office jobs have too much emphasis on being ‘corporate’ nowadays and front desk jobs are turning into modeling auditions. I’ve been turned down for too many jobs because of my hair and it’s ridiculous, I’ve been told ‘it’s your hair’, ‘if you had darker hair’, ‘if you had natural hair’ and the last one is the most stupid since tons of people have coloured hair and tons of people have bleach Blonde hair but because it’s not normalized on Brown skin it’s always suspicious or makes people wary. It’s ridiculous that focus on image has taken over the focus on ability and then the ability actually needed for jobs is overblown as well with qualifications for everything from being a librarian to retail assistants. People have forgotten that a bit of training goes a long way and knowing how to do tasks like stock taking or a macro in Excel aren’t as hard or as important as they make out. People don’t have to know how to do everything to begin with and can learn efficiently. Undermining their own and other people’s intelligence by overdoing their own sense of importance is just as annoying. I find a lot of fault started with the growth of the recruitment industry taking away hiring from the companies themselves so it became superficial and based on criteria that doesn’t focus on who is best or right for the job but who ticks boxes on their checklist. Then that attitude spread and became a mainstream attitude. The establishments I walk into that still treat people like people and not clones are a breath of fresh air!

    • I’m so sad to hear that you’ve been turned down because of your hair. Sure, it’s dyed, but it looks gorgeous and it’s wonderfully maintained. What’s wrong with that? Nothing.

      I agree with you too about placing too much emphasis on qualifications. In a lot of cases, even if you’ve got a degree or certificate in a certain area, you’re still going to need on-the-job training. There are plenty of people out there with no qualifications that would be able to learn how to do a job simply by training on the job.

    • Oh hon, I am so, so sorry. Obesity discrimination is another massive issue, and in many ways I think it’s a bigger issue than discrimination against body modification. Prejudice and discrimination against people who are overweight or obese is so entrenched in our culture and it rears it’s ugly head in so many different ways. I’ve never written about obesity discrimination, because although it does upset me greatly, I’ve never been obese and I’ve never experienced this discrimination first-hand so I don’t feel that I have the proper experience to write on this topic. It is a subject that is very close to my heart though. Nobody should be made to feel “less than” because of the size, shape or appearance of their body. Nobody.

  8. My employer allows visible tattoos, which is great for me, because I have tattoos that are rather difficult to cover. My tattoos make me happy and remind me of the things that mean the most to me, and things I don’t mind other people seeing- so that’s cool.
    But they do not allow body mods or piercings. Which to me, is pretty silly. You’ll allow personal expression through tattoos, but not someone’s choice to pierce their nose or lip or tongue? If they have the ability to speak well enough to communicate with the customer (which, to be honest, half the folks I seem to work with can’t do it now, even without mods) then I see no reason why they aren’t allowed!
    And then on top of that, I am all for dying my hair. Having a different hair color and being able to change up my look is very important to me, so why is that my employer won’t allow blue or fire engine red, when they’ll allow darker forms of red, blonde shades, black and brown? I see no reason why having a section of pink hair would create a wedge between myself and my ability to do my job, which is not hard to begin with.
    So really, now my question is- why would my employer only partially allow me to express myself? Put me in the embarrassing uniform- okay. Allow me to show my tattoos on my arms and neck, thank you very much. But make me take out my gauges (which by the way, look a LOT worse when I take them out) and take out my tongue ring? Please. Give me a friggin break. If I didn’t need money, then I’d be out of this job in a heart beat. You’d see me walking in with the coolest cotton candy hair, with my nose pierced and my ears gauged up one more notch, because f that man.
    So anyway, your blog speaks to me.
    Thank you for your post. ^.^

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. I really agree with your point: why let you express yourself in some ways but not others? Where do you draw the line, and who decides where the line should be drawn? It’s a really tricky situation and I’m sorry that you’re feeling down because of it.

  9. You are dead on! I agree with every single word. Thank you, I have such a hard time finding work because of the way I look. And its wrong I dont want to change for anyone, besides if everyone looked an acted the same the world would be such a boring place. Not to mention, how crazy it is to discriminate after what we have all been through with race, an gender.Are people ever going to learn! Thank you so much it was nice to read this.

  10. I really, really enjoyed this post because this is currently happening to me and you make excellent points. I work in retail as well, and I love dying my hair crazy colors. Ever since I started at this store, I had been doing so, any colors from pink, to blue, to bright red. However, a few months ago they suddenly told me this was not allowed, saying the dress code prohibited “extreme” and “unnatural” hair colors. Of course, I fought this tooth and nail because my hair is one way I express myself, and I love how it looks (I’ve even been told that crazy colors look natural on me). My arguments were the obvious one of my hair color has nothing to do with my work ethic (which is actually excellent by most standards). Another was the fact that tattoos and facial piercings WERE allowed (as a side note, I actually love tattoos and piercings as well), as long as they were tasteful, but me having purple hair was not. Their only response to me was to pretty much just tell me “that’s the rule.” So, I was forced to tone down my color choices or risk being terminated.

    A few months later, I dyed my hair a purple-red color after having it just blonde for a while. For reason I do not know, this color was perfectly fine, even though it really was not a natural color. I really wanted to do bright red, but I was unsure how that would go over. About a week after I dyed my hair this color, one of my co-workers dyed her hair bright red (like fire engine red) and did not have to change it, and a few others followed between then and now. So, naturally, I decided to color my hair the shade of red I like the best and I absolutely love it, as it had been a long time since I had felt like me (I know, that sounds kind of silly, but it’s true). I went through a whole day of work with my hair this way without a hitch. However, today I was called up to the office by my manager and assistant manager once more to be told I had one week to change my hair color or possibly be fired. I am absolutely furious about it because it just simply makes no sense to me why the rule is in place, and why I am the only one who was forced to change my hair color.

    I just wish I could get this sort of thing changed, not just for me, but for other with the same issue. To me, it seems like a super outdated policy when I see people with different colored hair every day now. If tattoos and piercings are more accepted now, why isn’t hair color?

    • I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. It must be so frustrating to feel as though you’re being targeted, particularly when your employer isn’t able to give a good reason for it. One of the things that bothers me about these body-mod rules is that most employers aren’t able to give a solid reason for them. Also, as you mentioned, they’re often applied inconsistently, with some employees being able to get away with changing their appearance while others are dressed down. It’s really unfair and I hope that it all turns out well for you.

  11. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. I currently have purple hair 2 piercings on my lip and a visible tattoo. I currently quiet my last employment as a supervisor, and am finding it hard to get a new job. I don’t want to have to change the way I look just to get a job I don’t think thats right. I am used to being judged by most people who see me on the street, I know what they must think of me, but what they don’t know is that I am a law student, and am obsessive compulsive about following rules, I never drink, never smoke and never do drugs. I am shy but very well manner and am never mean or rude to anyone. And yet the look in some people’s eyes when they look at me breaks my heart, cause I know what they are thinking when they have it all wrong.

    • Oh honey, I’m so sorry. It’s awful when people make snap judgements based on the way you look. It’s even worse when you feel as though you can’t be yourself because of those judgements. You sound like a lovely, intelligent person. Their judgements say more about them and their hang-ups than they do about you. Eff em!

  12. I just wanted to say I googled “tattoo hair color discrimination” in hopes of finding something exactly like this. You feel the way I feel. I feel sad. All I want to do is dye my hair pink like I had it in high school. Apparently I’ll get fired for it…I cant agree more with what you said about perpetuating bigotry. This culture babies people and teaches them its okay to be d*cks. Who approaches a manager and complains about a tattoo or a hair color? Who are these people? Anyway, maybe we could find a way to get some people to take notice of this…I’m sure millions agree with all of us here.

    • As you can tell, this is a topic that is very close to my heart. It’s unfair to discriminate against people who look a certain way. I do actually know of several instances where people have refused to be served by employees who have visible tattoos or piercings. In these instances, the people who were being complained about were friends of mine, each of whom is hard-working and brilliant at their job. It’s so unfair and completely closed-minded.

    • When I worked for a supermarket I saw a man walk to customer service and wait in line just to complain that the cashier was chewing gum. She was well groomed and polite. She wasn’t popping or being obnoxious with the gum but just happened to also be chewing gum. The same question ran through my mind. Who is this guy? Why on earth would you be so offended by this you would wait around just to complain and try to ruin this employee’s day. It’s the same with hair color/tattoos/piercings. It’s not harmful to anyone but some people complain like it’s hurting them. Myself, personally, I feel jealous when I see someone with pink or blue hair at their job. Because I can’t do the same. Whenever I’ve read the terms and conditions of employment or the code of conduct they always use the same terms: “No extreme hair colors”, or “unnatural hair colors”. So they’re telling us if you don’t look “natural” it’s unacceptable. I’m sorry but this is not Leave it to Beaver or The Brady Bunch, it’s 2013! I am conservative for the most part and a christian. I know what a lot of other christians think about tattoos and piercings. They feel like you should be happy with what God gave you and not try to change anything or set yourself apart from anyone. I think, maybe, people see it as a form of vanity. Even though I am mostly conservative on a lot of issues, this is something I feel should be left alone. There are so many other atrocities and injustice going on in the world that we, as humans, should speak up about for the greater good of mankind. 100 years from now, will your extreme hair color really have made a serious impact to your place of employment? I don’t think so. Another thing I see is a major double standard going on with these types of things in the work place. Some people can get away with things that are clearly not accepted while others will be asked to change something that is essentially the same thing or in the same category. I had a shift manager at a restaurant who got away with her tattoo, nose and tongue piercing. Yet I was told repeatedly to take my cartilage piercing out. So I never could wear it to work, not even a band-aid would suffice, so of course it closed up and I was so mad! Never a word was spoken to the manager, who was my gender and the same age as me, about her piercings. Wtf???

      • I also wonder about this. Who are these people who complain about things like tattoos and piercings. Who wants to waste part of their day whinging about something so trivial?

  13. Hello! Thank you so much for writing this. I 100% agree with you. In the next few months I want to dye my hair yellow, pink, purple and blue but I am so scared that my work place is going to have an issue with it. I also want to get tattoos on my arms but tattoos are naturally associated with criminals and I know if I get them they will be frowned upon. When i’m being served by some one with tattoos or unnatural hair colour I don’t think twice about it. Why don’t naturally blonde people be discriminated when they dye their hair brown? It’s not their natural hair colour! I really wish the work place will get over the old ways and realise the world is changing!

    • Heya! Glad you enjoyed reading it. It’s really tricky to make that call. Perhaps it might be worth having a chat with your boss to find out whether they’d be OK with you dying your hair? They might be fine with it. Fingers crossed!

  14. It absolutely is discrimination and it drives me nuts. I am one of the few people on my floor at work who wears makeup everyday, dresses nicely and does their hair each morning. Fortunately it’s OK for me to have pink hair and visible tattoos here, but a lot of other corporate workplaces in similar industries would die if I turned up for a job interview looking like I do, despite the fact I dress corporate and am a lovely, polite person.
    It’s just out dated opinions that people with tattoos and piercings are criminals, druggies or just unsavory characters. I also do see young girls with unnaturally dyed hair that looks awful because they don’t maintain it, so I guess that’s what scares people about brightly coloured hair. Totally unfair but colourful people like me get this crap all the time.
    Oh and BTW was linked her through XL as Life 🙂

    • Hey there, thanks for visiting!
      I am really pleased that you brought up the idea of grooming and maintenance, because it’s an important issue to discuss when you talk about workplace presentation. I can completely understand employers who want their workers to look well-dressed and professional. Having brightly-coloured hair doesn’t prevent you from looking slick, groomed and well put-together (especially if you have a well-maintained dye job). As long as you’re clean and tidy, I don’t see what the problem is.

  15. Completely agree! I love dyeing my hair in different colours but now that I have a temp job in retaill I hate not being able to dye my hair blue or purple. I can only just get away with red as long as it isn’t too red… :/ I feel like I’m not allowed to express who I am and that I’m being forced into a box. People who get offended or scared about hair colour, tattoos or any other form of body modification really need to get over themselves. I personally believe that body modifications should be included in the anti-discrimination employment laws.

  16. I can see your point and agree with it but, I think a lot of people say their image is important then get annoyed at people judging them on that.

    But in retail, is a tat or bright coloured hair that big a deal? I wouldn’t even notice most times and am more offended when I go into a food store and am served by someone who doesn’t have their hair tied back — or uses the same hand to handle food and money (that’s a huge deal to me). If someone is tattooed and pierced but looks and acts like they understand basic hygiene that’s all that matters really.

    • I get so snarky when I see somebody who is handling my food with their hair hanging in their face or using dirty hands or utensils. In that case, the way you dress (having your hair tied back, wearing gloves to handle food) has a direct impact on how well you do your job. My main beef is with people being treated as sub-par because they have a tattoo or an unnatural hair colour in situations where those things have no bearing on their ability to carry out their duties.

  17. Amen to this!! I’m really lucky to work at a place where self-expression is not only allowed, but encouraged! When I hear about the way most companies treat their employees who have strange hair colors or tattoos, it makes me so, SO mad. Its unfair and completely discriminatory.

    • It would be awesome if all workplaces were a little more encouraging of self-expression and creativity. That kind of attitude makes your employees feel more valued, and it gives them more incentive to work harder at their jobs. It’s amazing how something as simple as letting people be themselves has a huge impact on their attitude and approach to work.

  18. I understand completely how you feel. I don’t have any tattoos at the moment, but I have plans for awesome ones, the only thing holding me back is my work place. I work in retail with very strict uniform and hair/makeup rules (I dyed my hair a natural red and was told to change it because it wasn’t MY natural hair colour) it annoys me, because my managers have tattoos and one of them wears blue hair extensions, but I can’t. I’ve never been refused a job, but I’m worried that if I do get a tattoo on my forearm (where I’m planning my first) I will be, especially since I’m training to become a childcare worker (even though half the parents are covered in tattoos and dress and look worse than I do!) 😀

    BTW found your blog through XL as Life. LOVE LOVE Harry Potter fashion. I have followed you on polyvore too.

    • It is really tough when you know there’s a change you want to make, but you can’t because of the likelihood that it will impede your employability. There have been several times that I’ve wanted to make a drastic change to my appearance, but I haven’t because I know that my boss won’t like it.

      Welcome, by the way! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the Harry Potter post. I hope you stick around, because I’ve got loads of fun posts coming up in the next little while.

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