Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

The Plus is Actually a Minus

September 23rd, 2010 by

Ouch.  Talk about being totally shut down.  All that 23-year-old Hayley O’Neil of Blackburn, Lancashire, England wanted when she went into the city’s job centre was a lead on where she could find some work.  Instead she left insulted and in tears after a job centre official suggested that she “stand behind a wall” and put a paper bag over her face in order to cover up the numerous piercings that she has on her face.

O’Neil, who also has several tattoos and who received her first tattoo on her 18th birthday, was shocked when she went into the Blackburn JobCentre Plus and was told that she was basically unemployable looking the way that she does.  According to O’Neil:

‘”The guy said: ‘on first impressions do you think anyone would hire you?’ He said: ‘ look at it this way if you were to stand behind a wall – or put a paper bag over your face do you think you would have a better chance?’

“He then backtracked and tried to say that he was sorry and hoped I wasn’t offended but I was.

“He talked to me as though I was just going through a phase in my life, but this is my lifestyle choice, and this is who I am.”‘

Look, I understand that some people still might believe that piercings and tattoos prevent a person from adequately doing their job.  I don’t agree with it, but I can understand that an appearance such as Hayley O’Neil’s could invoke the scorn of someone who didn’t like or agree with it.  Regardless of that however, even if the person at the job centre felt that Hayley O’Neil was unemployable, it really isn’t his place to tell her as much.  She came in to find a lead on possible jobs and that’s all that she asked for.  Anything beyond that is out of the hands of the Job centre people.  She certainly didn’t come in asking for a critique of her appearance.  It’s quite ironic that the JobCentre Plus worker most likely told Hayley that she was unemployable because her appearance wasn’t deemed acceptable or professional, when he himself behaved completely unprofessional by saying such rude and demeaning things to a 23-year-old woman.

I should add that a spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions denied that any such remarks had been made to O’Neil.

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