“You have to be really careful; you are going to lose a good sector if you have a no-tattoo policy.” Those were the words quoted from, Brian Elzweig, associate professor of business law atat A&M-Corpus Christi and co-author of a paper published last week on the topic. “But the difference now is that employers have to weigh that against what percentage of the applicant pool they would be immediately giving up.”

The article is basically saying that the employers could be losing good talent if they’re biased against hiring those with tattoos or body piercings. Although, a duo of professors at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi recently researched corporate trends in the workplace and what they found is that there is still a “stigma.”


Never judge a book by its cover. Such an old adage, yet rarely practiced by some.


A Harris Poll from 2008 showed the following:

– People between 25 and 49 years of age were getting tattooed at a much higher rate than previous generations.

– Close to a third of folks from 25 through 29 years of age, and a fourth ages 30 to 39 had ink, compared to a small nine percent of those 65 and older. 

When it comes to ink, “The general rule is you’re allowed to discriminate,” says Elzweig. Aside from losing potential talent in the work force, companies should also consider that something much more costly can happen: lawsuits. In recent years, tattoo-related cases which went to court required companies to submit evidence that their business went through actual hardship because of tatted employees. For example, the report said, “some courts are now requiring data to support blanket claims that customers would not like to be served by employees with tattoos or piercings.”

The report was used in reference to a case which was submitted back in 2005 by a former Red Robin employee. The manager had asked him to cover up his tattoos, and when the employee challenged them in court, he said it would be “a sin”, since the tattoo was part of an ancient Egyptian religion.  Needless to say the court ruled in his favor and the case settled at $150,000. You can view the full case here.

The researchers’ report suggests, though, that passing on applicants or going through costly lawsuits may not be worth it.