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Tattoo Friendly America

Scrolling through Instagram you come across your favorite celebrity showing off their new ink, whether it’s on their face, hands or fingers.

Their new tattoo inspires you to get something yourself, often neglecting the potential effects and consequences it can create with jobs.

The entertainment industry has created a trend for visible tattoos, but is working class America following?

I decided to dig deep and conduct my own research, within the Atlanta area, to determine how tattoo friendly the working class of America is.

My research included reaching out on social media platforms, as well as reaching out to surrounding businesses and asking them if they had a tattoo policy and if so, what the policy entailed.

Different industries had various responses anywhere between no policies to strictly enforced policies.

The food industry varied on Atlanta tattoo policies, ultimately, it boiled down to the atmosphere of the restaurant.

Some restaurants had loosely enforced policies, such as visible tattoos must be covered but often times management turns a blind eye, to strictly enforced policies where the tattoo must be covered at all times.

Some restaurants had no policies whatsoever, but there appeared to be stigma in some of these no policy restaurants since majority of the servers had no visible tattoos while the cooks, tucked away in the back, are visibly tattooed.

The cosmetology industry was pretty unanimous amongst the lack of tattoo policies. I spoke to six women who work in different hair salons and only one expressed an issue with a salon requiring her to cover her visible tattoos.

The overall response from the ladies was each salon encourages creative freedom as long as the tattoos aren’t offensive.

Retail store policies differed. Some stores have recently changed or eliminated their policies to adhere to the influx of tattooed individuals, but a large remainder of stores still enforce them.

A large amount of retail stores allow tattoos but not if they’re on the hands, neck or face. Retail stores who openly promote their conservative backgrounds require their employees to cover visible tattoos.

With the information provided, it appeared most retail stores are accepting of tattoos as long as they’re not located in on your face or neck.

Government and corporate jobs varied on policies as well.

I spoke with a teacher in a nearby school district who informed me that teachers were allowed to have tattoos as long as they weren’t egregious, that it is up to the principle whether or not the tattoo must be covered.

I inquired further asking the teacher if she is aware of any teachers having their hands, fingers or neck tattooed and she only knew of a teacher in a neighboring school who has a full sleeve. A courthouse clerk informed me that her department has a strict tattoo policy and tattoos must be covered.

I was able to speak with two police officers who worked for different counties and there was a vast difference in policies. The one officer informed me that his department doesn’t allow visible tattoos whatsoever, while the other officer’s department allows forearm tattoos, but not finger/hands or neck tattoos, as long as they’re the size of an index card and even then the tattoo has to be approved by the department.

An HR manager at a local brewery informed me that his company doesn’t have a tattoo policy but he was unsure of how many visibly tattooed people worked in his brewery and to his knowledge nobody working at the brewery has their hands or face tattooed.

My conclusion is working class America has progressed to be somewhat tattoo friendly, but I definitely would stick to the phrase “think before you ink”. While I discovered some policies are lenient and allow tattoos, the majority aren’t keen on hands or face tattoos.

The establishments that didn’t have a set policy couldn’t offer information on how many people with face or hand tattoos were employed by their company, which led me to believe that there’s still a stigma against visible tattoos. Even though your favorite celebrity is sporting a new tattoo on their finger or face, I’d think twice before following their lead!

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