What forces people to use face tattoos

Tattoo in the workplace - what is allowed and what can the boss prohibit?

More and more people in Germany today have tattoos. According to surveys, one in five people is tattooed. Ascending trend. It is no longer just prisoners and sailors who wear tattoos, but tattoos have become more and more fashionable in recent years.

unsplash.com/ Marten bjork

This also sparked a tattoo debate about the workplace.
For example, may an employee who is in close contact with customers be hired even though they have a large, clearly visible tattoo? What does it look like if you can cover up the tattoo? Does the employer have to tolerate the tattoo? Can he demand that the employee cover the tattoo with clothing, even in summer?

Tattoos are not wanted by the police or in public service

Especially in the public service and especially with the police, the question of tattoos is at the top of the recruitment test.

The debate was initiated primarily by an applicant for the Federal Police who wore a large tattoo (a lettering) on ​​her right forearm. This was clearly visible and, from the point of view of the Federal Police, an obstacle to recruitment. The applicant complained against it and finally lost. According to the case law, the correspondingly large tattoo is an obstacle to recruitment.


This was justified by the fact that a police officer is basically a representative of the state and that this should appear as neutral as possible. According to the case law and the police, a tattoo can quickly lead to provocations.

Tates are just as critical for employees in the upscale hotel industry and flight attendants. However, tattoos are not generally a barrier to hiring. Rather, what matters is visibility in the job as well as presentation and size.

A small, subtle tattoo without any symbolic power is difficult to justify as an obstacle to hiring. Due to the prevalence of tattoos today, a general tattoo ban would hardly be enforceable.

A swastika tattoo of an opera singer once triggered an artistic crisis at a very famous opera event some time ago.

Tattoos are therefore always tricky when a certain seriousness or expertise is to be represented in the relevant job description, or when the person concerned represents a corresponding person of authority.

It always depends on the job


In principle, the employer is not allowed to ask about tattoos in the interview, after all, these are a private matter of the applicant. However, it is different if the tattoo is clearly visible (for example on the neck, cleavage, etc.).

In this case, however, the individual case must always be weighed up. For example, an employer will not hire an applicant with a large tattoo on the neck if the applicant is applying as a flight attendant, bank employee, salesperson or consultant, for example.

It is also decisive whether the tattoo develops a certain symbolic power or shows a certain attitude.

Prohibitions in the employment contract are often ineffective

In some cases, (visible) tattoos are also prohibited in the employment contract as a dress code. The employer can then, for example, request that the tattoo be covered by clothing. However, such an employment contract regulation is legally sensitive and should only be permissible if the employer has a strong legitimate interest in the employee not wearing a visible tattoo.

unsplash.com/ Braydon Anderson

In general, employees who want to get a new tattoo should always consider whether this could cause displeasure on the part of the employer. In conservative professions in particular, the debate about tattoos in the workplace is still hot.

In certain professions, such as creative professions or social professions, tattoos no longer play a major role in recruitment.

As tattoos have become more and more important over the past 10 years and the trend is rising, it remains to be seen how the debate will develop in the future.


Since labor law matters should be resolved quickly, we always have an initial consultation appointment immediately. If possible on the same day, otherwise next day. Write us a message or call us directly. We can be reached by phone from Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Case study

Special protection against dismissal pregnancy


Section 9 of the Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG) guarantees special protection against dismissal for the entire period of pregnancy and up to four months after delivery. However, the precondition for the ban on dismissal is that the employer is aware of the pregnancy. If the employer has no knowledge of the pregnancy, this must be communicated to him no later than two weeks after receipt of the notice of termination.

If the employee does not find out about the pregnancy until later, through no fault of her own, then she can immediately notify the employer. In these cases, too, the termination becomes retrospectively ineffective if the pregnancy already existed at the time of termination. When the catch-up was carried out immediately always depends on the circumstances of the individual case. According to the jurisprudence, the time limit should be around 1 week, so it is generally advisable to take action immediately after knowing.

If the employer has given notice in spite of an existing pregnancy, then the employee should bring an action for protection against dismissal in order to be able to protect her rights.

More about the legal situation of women during pregnancy and parental leave: Rights of pregnant women in labor law - prohibition of discrimination - pregnancy does not protect against mass dismissals - termination of a probationary period - pregnancy test before employment - job termination due to pregnancy


Since labor law matters should be resolved quickly, we always have an initial consultation appointment immediately. If possible on the same day, otherwise next day. Write us a message or call us directly. We can be reached by phone from Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.