Is it discrimination (wrongful termination)? (Jane has a tattoo)

Is it discrimination (wrongful termination)? (Jane has a tattoo)

Jane wore long sleeves to her interview so that the employer would not see the Bon Jovi tattoo that she had tattooed on her forearm when she was, well, not entirely “with it” one night out in college. She was supremely qualified for the position and got the job. She worked for two weeks without any issue and decided that since her office was pretty informal anyway, she would go ahead and wear short sleeves one day and let her tattoo show. She was called into a meeting with her boss and terminated within the first two hours of her shift. Her boss stated, “Your tattoo does not fit with our company image.”

First, remember that every situation we address on this website is intended to be in a non-union context with no “contract” in place. This is the situation for the vast majority of employees in California who work for private companies. They are “at will” employees.

There is no protection for employees with tattoos, so they are left to the mercy of their employers (it may be that in a very rate circumstance, if it could be shown that a tattoo was a requirement of a bona fide religion, there may be the need to accommodate, but it is still unlikely). Jane may be wearing long sleeves for life or at least until she finds a boss who appreciates a little “ink.”