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We’re always told not to believe everything we read in the newspapers and there’s probably more to this story that meets the eye, but it really set me thinking and I’d love to have your views on it…
My colleague John Austen sometimes refers to me as an ageing hippy as I don’t eat meat, am really into the idea of sustainable living and often attend mind, body, spirit and music festivals, where I’ll generally sport multi-coloured hair, oddly patterned fingernails, face-paint and unusual clothes, while enjoying the company of dear friends who may themselves sport Mohican haircuts or dreadlocks, pointy elf ears and fairy wings or multiple facial/body piercings. Many of them – men and women – are covered in tattoos.
Now I’ve established that I’m open minded and that I celebrate the value of individuality and the need for self-expression and freedom for us – as equals - to pursue our own interests and lifestyles, I have to say that I back without hesitation Salisbury FM’s insistence that a senior employee on one of its contracts either cover up her tattoo or leave the job.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story, 38-year-old Jo Perkins – allegedly five months into her temporary contract as a consultant, sported a decorative butterfly tattoo that stretched from beneath her ankle to her toes. This had remained undiscovered until she ditched the trousers and wore a dress to work instead – no doubt as the weather warmed. Her employer said that the tattoo didn't comply with the company’s professional image and should be covered up.
Jo – who apparently had been doing a wonderful job of work, is quoted as saying that she found the ruling ‘ridiculous’ – after all, it’s only a butterfly - but employer Salisbury FM, which boasts HM Revenue & Customs as a client, held fast.
Yes – the tattoo itself wasn’t an offensive inking; but I don’t believe a tattoo should be displayed in the professional workplace any more than multi-coloured hair or face-paints. If you consider your job, colleagues and clients to be important, you need to dress and behave in a way that will not offend any of them.
Agree? Disagree? Please let me know
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17th July 2014