Tatts life in the workplace

Holly Austin said she has never had complaints about her tattoos in the workplace.
Holly Austin said she has never had complaints about her tattoos in the workplace. Georja Ryan

WHILE high-brow art gurus may argue that art should be on a canvas and in a gallery, there is a whole other generation of enthusiasts out there who are more open to where they display art; their skin being a popular choice.

In a society where tattoos are as common as a tan, are employers being too harsh when they ask staff to cover them up?

Or are tattoos still as offensive as they were once deemed when it was only those in black and white stripes and a ball and chain who had them?

One employee of Warwick Screenprinting and Embroidery who sports a sleeve and various other tattoos is Holly Austin, who said she'd never received complaints from customers about her ink.

"I've never had an issue before," Ms Austin said.

Her boss, Karen McKavanagh, said Ms Austin's tattoos had never posed a problem and she wouldn't ask her to cover them up.

"It doesn't make the person any different and I like Holly's tattoos," Mrs McKavanagh said.

In many cases, employees are asked to cover up their tattoos with a bandage.

Warwick man Malcolm Vivian said being served by someone at a cafe with bandaged hands would be far more off-putting than the tattoo itself.

"Tattoos are an expression of that person and if a little thought goes into them are amazing pieces of art," he said.

Topics:  art employers work

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