Sammy Nickalls
September 28, 2015 4:36 pm

When Claire Shepherd applied to be a retail merchandiser at UK shopping logistics company Dee Set, she had no idea the whirlwind of emotions she would soon be experiencing — from happiness to sadness to anger to disgust. . . all in less than an hour.

Claire, 27, recently took to Facebook to express her absolutely wild story (which is not available at the moment), according to the Daily Mail. “I got a new job today,” she wrote. “And then I got sacked within half an hour.”

Claire had a stellar phone interview — so good, in fact, that she was told at the end of the conversation that she had the job and could start next week. Then, the company sent her an e-mail outlining their dress standards. “As I read it, I was gutted as they noted that all tattoos must be covered up as they are likely to cause [offense],” she explained. “Thinking this was an old standard e-mail the company sent out, and that their views had changed, I emailed them explaining that I had hand tattoos and [hoped] this wouldn’t affect my new job.”

  Unfortunately, their views hadn’t changed, and they took their offer back due to her intricate hand tattoo. “I was shocked when they replied and said they would no longer be employing me as I would not be able to cover my tattoos,” Claire wrote. Claire has never had this problem with her tattoos before after working for six years in managerial roles. “I was perfect for the job due to my skills, previous experience and flexibility,” she wrote. “They clearly thought I had something to offer and would be the right person for the job as they had already offered me the position.”

The post was since shared thousands of times and was at one point retweeted by body-positive plus-sized model Tess Holliday, who also is adorned with body art. Since all of the traction the post received, Dee Set contacted Claire again and offered her the job back. “They saw my tattoo and saw it was not offensive,” she told Daily Mail. “But I feel if I hadn’t gone viral they wouldn’t have offered me the job back. I’m glad they saw their mistake and corrected it though, [sic] that’s a step forward.”  

Claire also reached out to other celebs like Ed Sheeran who have and endorse tattoos, but it’s unclear whether they’ve gotten back to her yet:

Other Twitter users have tweeted Claire in support:

When Metro reached out to the company for comment, a representative responded, “Dee Set is a progressive, equal opportunity employer and recognises this error in process during our peak recruitment period. We have explained to Claire that the job offer remains, we are currently recruiting all over the UK and we welcome all with the right skill set to join our growing team of retail experts.”

However, for Claire, it’s an offer that comes much too late. She has since accepted a position at B&M. “In my opinion, tattoos do not affect your performance or ability to do a job and do not pose a health and safety risk or cause any harm,” Claire told Daily Mail. “. . . I was previously an assistant manager and it never posed an issue. As long as the person is capable of doing their job then I do not see how it is justifiable.”

Claire told Daily Mail that looking down on tattoos is an outdated policy. “If the police force [is] allowed to show tattoos then why are some companies still not allowing to show tattoos?” she posed. “We are all individuals and someone’s skin shouldn’t affect their employment.”

To the UK retailer’s defense, the company did clearly state exposed tattoos were against their policy –and to their credit, it’s great they were straight-forward about this. However, times are changing, and more and more companies are accepting tattoos in the work place. It’s definitely the company’s prerogative when it comes to body decor, dress code, etc. —but if the prospective employee meets every single job requirement and seems to be a perfect fit, are we putting too much stock into an antiquated stigma?

Not everyone loves tattoos, but over time, they seem to have lost their taboo nature —many sources say. And perhaps it’s time we should look past them. Not only would this benefit tattooed individuals, but companies as well; after all, if you turn someone away based purely off appearances without giving them a chance, you may be missing out on a dedicated team member.

[Images via Twitter]

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