Amajla Tricic, Staff Writer
Miki DeLaFleur, who works in the Utica College library, was a nervous wreck when her job interview was approaching. It wasn’t because she did not think she had the ability to give the perfect answers or she was terrified that the person interviewing her would be too stern, it was because she had tattoos.
Would that disqualify her immediately? Would they think it was unprofessional? Would she lose her opportunity right off the bat? DeLaFleur found a perfect fit working with the staff in the UC Library.
With the fear of having people judge her because of her tattoos, she understands that even though the library staff accepts her tattoos without a problem it could pose a problem for many other people.
“I don’t mind tattoos, and I think people make them a bigger deal than necessary,” DeLaFleur said. “Even tattoos in the workplace do not bother me. My tattoos are smaller and are usually covered, and I did that for a reason, so if a workplace did not like easily spotted tattoos I would be able to cover them.”
DeLaFleur explains that some businesses and corporations find tattoos unprofessional but doesn’t see them as an issue personally as long as they are not insulting.
“I know a lot of businesses don’t like them, especially those who are heavily covered in them,” DeLaFleur said. “I really do not see the problem unless it is blatantly offensive.”
Junior Jasmine Pena has mixed reactions about tattoos in general, not just in the workplace.
“Some are just gross and tacky, and some look really good,” she said. “Traditional tattoos with a modern take are so nice such as something different like a blue rose. But then, you have people who will get insulting tattoos that might offend people.”
Pena said she has seen the benefits and downsides of what tattoos can do to a person’s body.
“When it comes to the workplace, it definitely depends on where someone works,” Pena said. “If you are in a professional setting like the healthcare industry, you have to be careful because you are seeing patients like children and especially elders who have a traditional mindset and not only think it is unprofessional but will think the business is unprofessional.”
According to BBC News, researchers at King’s College stated that out of 33 bosses, several were reluctant to hire those with tattoos. In addition, under the 2010 Equality Act, tattoos are not protected and would only be an exception with religious markings.
Manager of Parkway Drugs in Utica Steve Lindig says that tattoos are all a matter of placement and abundance.
“Personally, I love tattoos,” he said. “I have a couple of my own, but I always cover them up. As a manager, I have to because customers see me as the guy who runs the store and keeps everything in place.”
Lindig points to one main reason why tattoos in the workplace can be an issue: perception.
“In the workplace, people can be intimidated by someone who has them or might even think they have served jail-time,” he said. “I know some patients who even get intimidated by healthcare workers who are covered with them so you have to know your limit.”