What to do about discrimination in the workplace?

UPDATED: Nov 2, 2011

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What to do about discrimination in the workplace?

About 7 years ago I started working at a tire center. At the time, our company policy stated that tattoos were left to the manager’s discretion. I had several tattoos on my arms and forearms then, and the manager that hired me assured me that was not a problem. However, just today I was informed that all employees with tattoos will now have to start covering them up at all times, even in extremely hot summer weather, which means having to wear a long sleeve shirt and/or sweater. Our jobs are physically laborious jobs that require us to stand, sit, run, move around and lift excessively heavy equipment for 8+ hours every day. Is there anything that can be done about this, particularly in regards to the employees that were hired with numerous tattoos and told it was OK? Nobody has ever complained about my tattoos and they are not offensive in any way. I’m worried especially about the summertime when it gets to be 90+ degrees, working outdoors at a job that is already so physically demanding and exhausting. I don’t understand how they can do this because my tattoos have no interference with my job performance or customer relationships.

Asked on November 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

From what you have written your business has now implemented a new policy about covering up tattoos which is not per se discrimination in that you are still employed where you are but the tattoos are not to be seen at the work place. I do not see the new policy as being discriminatory and this is the reason.

The New York Yankees baseball club has a policy that none of its players can have facial hair. No beards, no moustaches and side burns longer than a certain length are prohibited. Players that sign with the Yankees or are traded to the Yankees have to abide by the no facial hair policy.

The same goes with your employer regarding the tattoo policy.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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