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    • halfpint79
    • By halfpint79 9th Mar 17, 9:55 PM
    • 29Posts
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    halfpint79
    Tattoo issue at work
    • #1
    • 9th Mar 17, 9:55 PM
    Tattoo issue at work 9th Mar 17 at 9:55 PM
    I am employed by a college who have no problem with staff having visible tattoos. However I work in a satellite site (the college have an external contractor they provide education For). This contractor asked me to cover my arm tattoo which I have always respected.

    However we are currently on a 4 week trip overseas where I am living in close proximity to the students. I still respectfully keep the tattoo covered during work hours but in my free time when in and around my house, out for a walk etc I feel I should be able to wear short sleeves (it's very hot Here!). My very inexperienced line manager seems to think I should keep it covered at all times which I find unreasonable. Any ideas where I stand on this one...
Page 1
    • pawlala
    • By pawlala 9th Mar 17, 9:59 PM
    • 1,190 Posts
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    pawlala
    • #2
    • 9th Mar 17, 9:59 PM
    • #2
    • 9th Mar 17, 9:59 PM
    How does your inexperienced line manager know whether you are or are not keeping it covered outside of work hours? Do you socialise with him?
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    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 9th Mar 17, 10:40 PM
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    theoretica
    • #3
    • 9th Mar 17, 10:40 PM
    • #3
    • 9th Mar 17, 10:40 PM
    If you are on a trip, are work hours relevant? Do you have any times when it is clear you are off duty?
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    • halfpint79
    • By halfpint79 9th Mar 17, 10:52 PM
    • 29 Posts
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    halfpint79
    • #4
    • 9th Mar 17, 10:52 PM
    • #4
    • 9th Mar 17, 10:52 PM
    He has seen me around the place going out for a run etc.
    By free time I mean outside of timetabled classroom time. Times when I am free to do as I wish. I find it hard to swallow that for 4 weeks everytime I leave the front door I have to comply with this. Seems unreasonable especially in a hot country.
    • boliston
    • By boliston 9th Mar 17, 11:24 PM
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    boliston
    • #5
    • 9th Mar 17, 11:24 PM
    • #5
    • 9th Mar 17, 11:24 PM
    I would avoid getting into an argument but would just ignore his "rules" when off duty - just act a bit vague if he tries to challenge you eg "i saw you jogging in short sleeves" etc
    • fairy lights
    • By fairy lights 9th Mar 17, 11:32 PM
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    fairy lights
    • #6
    • 9th Mar 17, 11:32 PM
    • #6
    • 9th Mar 17, 11:32 PM
    It is certainly unreasonable to expect you to cover up during your own free time, you say he's young and unexperienced so it sounds like he's trying to prove himself and being a bit of a jobsworth in the process.
    • halfpint79
    • By halfpint79 10th Mar 17, 8:28 AM
    • 29 Posts
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    halfpint79
    • #7
    • 10th Mar 17, 8:28 AM
    • #7
    • 10th Mar 17, 8:28 AM
    I agree with the carrying on, I don't intend to be dictated to in my time off. However it's tricky knowing if I am doing anything wrong contractually.
    • Jack1991
    • By Jack1991 10th Mar 17, 10:25 AM
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    Jack1991
    • #8
    • 10th Mar 17, 10:25 AM
    • #8
    • 10th Mar 17, 10:25 AM
    I would avoid getting into an argument but would just ignore his "rules" when off duty - just act a bit vague if he tries to challenge you eg "i saw you jogging in short sleeves" etc
    Originally posted by boliston
    I would do this any of your free time you are not being paid for you should be able to wear what you want... within reason lol
    I always cover my tattoos in work but if I went out on a works do or something unpaid I would have no issues having them on display.
    • xapprenticex
    • By xapprenticex 10th Mar 17, 10:47 AM
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    xapprenticex
    • #9
    • 10th Mar 17, 10:47 AM
    • #9
    • 10th Mar 17, 10:47 AM
    It could also be a company code of conduct, so even though you have free time you are still representing the company so maybe its best to keep it covered to avoid hassle and have a job when you get back home.
    • nimbo
    • By nimbo 10th Mar 17, 11:24 AM
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    nimbo
    What is the tattoo of? Is it something swastika like that would have a real reason to cause offence? I'm assuming it isn't / wouldn't - but in a teaching role I can see that could become an issue.

    What is he expecting you to wear while out running? And I'd possibly be a little bit concerned he's spying.

    I'd avoid him for the rest of
    The trip - but I don't see how the dress policy could be enforceable 24 / 7 while away. I personally wouldn't be choosing to walk around in a bikini (nobody needs to see that) - but an arm tattoo is hardly flashing your chest / midriff etc.

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    • halfpint79
    • By halfpint79 10th Mar 17, 12:03 PM
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    halfpint79
    Its definitely nothing offensive. In fact on my first day at work my director was admiring it but then the satellite site I work had came up with the covering up rule. I have no problem complying with this during work time.
    • halfpint79
    • By halfpint79 10th Mar 17, 12:05 PM
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    halfpint79
    The latest remark is that I need to wear long sleeves if I answer a knock at the door of my villa in case it's a student! Think that just about sums up lack of sense!
    • Spidernick
    • By Spidernick 10th Mar 17, 12:15 PM
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    Spidernick
    When you say you are 'overseas', where exactly are you? Could cultural considerations be a factor? Remember that what is acceptable at home may not be in another country (it is rude to blow your nose in Japan, for example).

    Talking of Swastikas, these are not offensive in India, where I saw them quite regularly. Twelve years of The Third Reich has changed its meaning for the majority of people, but it predates that by thousands of years and is actually a sacred symbol:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika
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    • paddyrg
    • By paddyrg 10th Mar 17, 3:05 PM
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    paddyrg
    What's culturally OK here can be very different overseas. If you're in the Middle East for instance (you say it's very hot!) then whilst Dubai (for instance) tolerates a lot of decadent Western casualness in the name of money, you're against local sensibilities no matter what the tattoo is of. It makes you visible and if you're representing a school that's kind of a big deal. And some tattoos that are fairly benign to us can be inflammatory to others - I had a performer with a Star of David tattoo he didn't cover put on the next plane out.
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 10th Mar 17, 3:24 PM
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    pmlindyloo
    Do you have a separate contract with this satellite company or do your employers have a contract with them that specifies that a tattoo of an employer should be covered during working hours?

    Have you discussed with your employer the fact that the satellite company has asked you to cover up?

    Advice from ACAS

    http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4953

    Having said that, you have accepted the satellite's company's demand for you to cover up so it may be a bit late to change this.

    if you are on a trip with the students it may be that your hours of work are different from when at home. Did they give you a written briefing on what you are expected to be doing? Are you in a supervisory role whilst with the students?

    This may seem a ridiculous idea but is there any way you could cover your tattoo when out and about - might be the simplest solution - although if it is very large may not be possible!
    • tensandunits
    • By tensandunits 10th Mar 17, 3:34 PM
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    tensandunits
    Get some make up and cover it if you need to wear short sleeves.

    When people get their bodies inked does it not occur to them that some employers may take issue with it? Then again I've no idea why people choose to disfigure themselves like this in the first place so I may be a bit biassed.
    • Jack1991
    • By Jack1991 10th Mar 17, 3:49 PM
    • 34 Posts
    • 11 Thanks
    Jack1991
    Get some make up and cover it if you need to wear short sleeves.

    When people get their bodies inked does it not occur to them that some employers may take issue with it? Then again I've no idea why people choose to disfigure themselves like this in the first place so I may be a bit biassed.
    Originally posted by tensandunits
    Sounds like quite a judgemental comment, this is the 21st century and they are the norm now, its a fair request to ask for them to be covered while in work time but not outside of work hours its quite frankly ridiculous, what about if you bump into a pupil back home in the town centre or something?. I would ignore any request to cover your arms incase a student sees its a load of rubbish in your own time you can wear what you like unless you had some kind of contract signed before you went?
    I worked in a primary school for 6 months and the kids loved my tattoos.
    • tensandunits
    • By tensandunits 10th Mar 17, 4:07 PM
    • 825 Posts
    • 1,214 Thanks
    tensandunits
    Sounds like quite a judgemental comment, this is the 21st century and they are the norm now, its a fair request to ask for them to be covered while in work time but not outside of work hours its quite frankly ridiculous, what about if you bump into a pupil back home in the town centre or something?. I would ignore any request to cover your arms incase a student sees its a load of rubbish in your own time you can wear what you like unless you had some kind of contract signed before you went?
    I worked in a primary school for 6 months and the kids loved my tattoos.
    Originally posted by Jack1991
    Well, ok, but lots of things are the norm now. Not all of which are good and worthy pursuits.

    Getting back to the OP, clearly this particular supervisor has a bee in his bonnet about her arm tattoo, and as her superior he is in the driving seat, I'm afraid.

    The best compromise is probably to cover it with make up, the way a lot of brides have to these days.
    • halfpint79
    • By halfpint79 10th Mar 17, 4:41 PM
    • 29 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    halfpint79
    In response to the cultural question, no that's not the issue, we are in Spain.
    My contract is solely with the college, they have their own contract with the site. I have not been given anything written about tattoos, working hours while away etc. Generally I work in the daytime but then help out some evenings too. It's all done informally.
    Having worked in education a while, colleges generally don't have any issue with tattoos. In fact I think they show the students that we are human too and if asked about it in the past I always use it as a discussion point re the need to be cautious about getting them too young etc.

    Thanks for everyone's input so far btw
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 10th Mar 17, 8:51 PM
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    TBagpuss
    I think a lot depends on how you want to deal with this.
    One option is to wear make up, the other is to say to your supervisor that you are prepared to cover up the tattoo during working hours as you do when in the UK, but that it is not realistic for you to be expected to cover your arms at all times, particularly when you are off duty.

    You could also ask him why, specifically, he is concerned about the tattoo.If he is worried about students seeing it then you could talk to him what you will do if they do (I suspect most won't care, but you could have a set script, even if it is just "you haven't seen it before as I cover it up at work, as not every employer sees tattoos as work-appropriate" Which is factual and fairly neutral.
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