Is it discrimination if there is no company policy regarding tattoos an I’m being basically fired over it?

I’ve worked for a company for 3 years all while having visible tattoos. My manager did not care about the tattoos when she hired me but the district manager has always clearly shown disdain for my tattoos which are not offensive in any way. Is he allowed to now force me to work overnight shifts when I have clearly stated that I can not do that as I have another job, and now he is not “firing” me but telling me I will have no hours until I decide to quit?

Asked on July 24, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Vermont


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your employer may do this:

1) Employers can have--and can change, at manager discretion--"dress" codes, which includes codes or expections for body art.

2) Tatoos are not protected under the law; there is no "discrimination" in the law's eyes against tatoos, since there is no protection for having them.

3) An employer can reschedule an employee at any time, for any reason (as long as the employee does not have an employment contract setting his/her schedule) and does not need to take account of the employee's other jobs or other needs.

4) If an employee cannot work the hours an employer wants him/her to work, the employer does not need to give him or her any hours, and could simply terminate him/her at will.

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