If I am the only person who has to cover their tattoos at my job, is this discrimination?

UPDATED: Mar 10, 2012

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If I am the only person who has to cover their tattoos at my job, is this discrimination?

What should I do?

Asked on March 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Contrary to popular belief, almost all "discrimination"--or unequal or differential treatment of employees--is legal. Only those forms specifically prohibited by law, such as discrimination on the basis of race, religion, age, sex or 40, or disability, are illegal. Other than that, an employer could require one employer to cover his/her tatoos and not another if it chose.

And even if you believe that you are being singled out due to your membership in a specifically protected category, like those above, if the employer can nonetheless show some non-discriminatory rationale or reason for what it is doing, it will most likely be legal. So, for example, if you have many more tatoos; or they are are more "lurid" or colorful or larger; or their subject matter is less appropriate; or you have them in different locations; etc.--in any case like this, if your tatoos are different than other workers' tatoos, the employer can ask you to cover them but not require others to do so, too, even if you are, for example, the only member of a minority, the only employee over 40, etc.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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