HMV Bans Tattoos And Long Hair

A music retailer has banned tattoos, piercings, long hair and even flip flops in a bid to brush up its appearance. But is it fair on their staff?

Ultimate Guitar

Staff at UK music retailer HMV have been banned from having tattoos and long hair.

According to The Sun, staff must appear "neat and clean - and wear nice new trainers" as part of a new appearance policy.

Considering that many music fans work in their store, with a portion of them bound to be rock fans who might enjoy having tattoos or long hair, it's an unusual policy.

The rules say that discreet tattoos or piercings are fine, and anything more is considered to be "extreme body art" and must be removed or covered up.

Even flip flops have been banned.

If staff choose to ignore the new policy, HMV says it will discipline them.

"We've got new management. It's ridiculous and discrimination", said one member of staff.

HMV responded by saying it wanted staff to express their personalities but had to balance this with what customers expect.

Is HMV right to brush up its appearance, or should existing staff be respected for who they are? Share your opinion in the comments.

134 comments sorted by best / new / date

    >HMV responded by saying it wanted staff to express their personalities but had to balance this with what customers expect. I expect your employees to feel free and look the way they want to. I go there to buy CD's not criticize your staff.
    honestly, who gives a shit? this is stupid, workers should look however they want. i almost kidna hope they go outta business for this.
    The irony of this is that, when people walk into a music store, they expect a few people with long hair and/or tattoos.
    Yeah, whenever I go in an HMV, most of the people working their have either long hair, tattoos, peiricings, or all of the above.
    If I walked into a guitar shop and nobody had long hair, piercings or tatts I'd suspect something seriously wrong and walk straight out again.
    yeah! honestly, it's never bothered me! and i don't think it really bothers anyone else!
    "...workers should look however they want...." The flip side is that employers have the right to ask their workers to look a certain way. Potential employees can always take their piercings out and cover up their tat's if they really want the job.
    The flop side is that I also have the right to stand on the side of the road with a giant sign that says "YOU SUCK WIENERS." However, it would be pointless and would make me look like a douche. It's 2012. Can our society seriously still not tell a dirtbag with grimy long hair and prison tattoos from an upstanding, self-respecting citizen who happens to have clean, long hair and nice tattoos?
    I hope this doesn't happen in Canada. There's a reeaal hot chick who has a bunch of tatts and piercings at the HMV near my place. Only reason I would walk into it is her.
    Lil' Pookie
    I worked at a target and those fascist made me wear a red shirt instead of my makin' bacon T-Shirt. I should file a discrimination suit. Let me talk to my long haired, pierced, and tattooed Lawyer wearing his Bad Religion t-shirt Also It's discrimination that women get to wear skirts to work and I don't. and It's also discrimination that women are allowed into the women's restroom and I'm not. DISCRIMINATION!!!!!
    Theyve just alienated the only 3 people who still go to HMV for music.
    Leather Sleeves
    ^hahaha! But really, it's probably part of some misguided attempt to increase their business by trying to attract a different demographic. I guess clean-cut folks don't download music or something.
    It's fine as long as both guys and girls have to have short hair. Otherwise it is discrimination.
    Going into a record shop, I generally expect the sales person to look a like an audiophile; ie some tats, and perhaps even long hair (especially if they are a woman). I don't expect, and don't want to walk into a music store where the guy is in a suit and seems like he MUST sell me something. HMV will just come off looking like poseurs, and pompous jack-asses.
    People have free choice to look like anything they want. But businesses have a right to ask their employees to dress a certain way. It's their business. If you want their money, you follow their rules. If you don't want to, don't work for them.
    I think what everyon is forgetting is that business owners have a right to protect the interests of their businesses. If HMV dealt exclusively with extreme music, it may be strategic to have staff with tattoos, piercings and the like. However, they don't cater specifically to those genres. As in any business where staff and customers interact in person, customer impressions can have a large impact on whether or not they shop there. I think the reasoning behind this decision is this. HMV is betting that the people that currently shop at their stores, do so because of the selection available to them, not because of the way the staff dresses/express themselves. HMV has more to gain in the way of attracting more conservatively minded customers than they have to lose from customers upset with this policy.
    So dicrimination is ok if you run a business? what if their rules are discriminatory? Other groups have been discriminated against because of they way they look, for example black people, women, hispanic.It's just business right. women can have long hair but not men? discrimination continues in this world because of places like HMV and people like you!
    We may all agree it's a silly policy and contradictory within the context of selling music, but HMV has the right to institute a dress code for their employees. I hardly think this qualifies as "discrimination". At the end of the day, no one is holding a gun to anyone's head asking them to either work or shop there. If you don't like what HMV is doing, tell them about it by withholding your business. Obviously, saying "if you don't like it quit" is not really realistic given the economic environment these days, but I imagine HMV may see an impact in hiring by perhaps getting less musically-knowledgeable staff - assuming tattoos and piercings are indicative of musical knowledge [now, THAT is profiling... ].
    Was curious about the legal ramifications, and found a good summary item here: Key excerpt: Tattoos and Body Piercings. Many employees also mistakenly believe that they have a right to show tattoos and body piercings in the workplace. While tattoos and piercings may be examples of employee self-expression, they generally are not recognized as indications of religious or racial expression and, therefore, are not protected under federal discrimination laws. Accordingly, as with most personal appearance and grooming standards, you have wide latitude to set policy regarding tattoos and body piercings. Obviously, this relates to U.S. law, but I would imagine U.K. law follows a similar model.
    Near enough the same in the UK. When it comes to tattoos, it's almost entirely at the discretion of the employer. People have fought employer policies and won, but only in unusually heavy handed cases, for example if it was disclosed at interview that the person would have visible, inoffensive tattoos and they were hired with that knowledge.
    i would agree with you except you can't really adhere to the dress code if you already have tattoos...
    Business hire people for their qualifications, knowledge and experience. Thats what you need to do a job. how you look has nothing to do with these things. Unlike qualifications,which are based on factual experience college etc, A 'dress code' is based only on a persons appearance and subject to someone's personal opinion of what is acceptable. The definition of discrimination is treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit. Based on this common definition of discrimination what HMV is doing is discrimination plain and simple.
    The difference is that minorities don't choose to look that way. If you have tattoos and long hair, it was completely your choice.
    Leather Sleeves
    Not necessarily. There are many cultures in which tattoos are part of their spirituality, same with long hair.
    And how many of them work in HMV?
    Leather Sleeves
    Probably few, but if institutions like the military can make concessions to accomodate such cultures I think HMV can too. Just saying.
    Probably few is highly optimistic. Also, you have to remember that however true you feel your religion is, it's your choice to practise it. You shouldn't be prevented from doing so, but if you are going to, you would just have to accept that you wont be able to work in one brand of overpriced music store :/
    Ok, I will concede on that point. If it's spiritually/religiously related they can't do anything. But, if it's not then it was your choice and they are free to say that they don't want that in their workplace. Not to say that these are comparable "offences" (because they are not), but companies can deny you a job because you are a criminal because they don't want that in their workplace. It all comes down to you made a decision and there are consequences to it.
    Oh please.... We're not talking about real discrimination here. Simply the rights of a PRIVATE business to dictate how their employees, basically, groom themselves. Real discrimination would be if HMV said they wouldn't hire anyone who wasn't white male between the ages of 20-25 and was born in London's SOHO district, regardless of qualifications. Even then, as a PRIVATE business, that's their pejorative. You don't like it? Shop elsewhere.
    Second Rate
    Business is not the government, friend. It is wrong for the government to enshrine discrimination into law, but private individuals do (and most certainly should have the power to) discriminate. And before you come back and bitch about how you don't discriminate, you need to think long and hard on it. In your dating life, do you not have a certain set of standards you want potential mates to meet. Your friends, do you not have a particular set of standards that you hold them to? That, my friend, is discrimination. It is an every day fact of life. But hey... the UK is a free market correct? That means those folks with long hair and tattoos are not forced to work at HMV, they are free to find work at a place that DOES allow long hair and tattoos.
    So what I am expecting now is to find stuff like Panic at The Disco in the metal section because the guys who know about music (the dudes with long hair and tattoos) have been replaced by top 40 listening douchebags!
    This is pretty much the same with most places though, companies expect staff to look respectable to give a good corporate image. That's not to say it's not wrong. To me, all people want in store is friendly staff, and that comes when the staff are comfortable in their position and how they appear. Simple.
    The nicest guys I have spoken to in HMV have honestly been the ones dressed like that. It looks like they actually give a s*** about the music compared to some dumbass employee who has never heard of Iron Maiden (true story when asked if they had Powerslave in stock). I've also asked a few times if they can recommend me some good albums if I tell him my interests and he went over and we talked for a good 10 minutes. Especially in a store like this, people should be allowed to express themselves. If you work in an office and attend meetings, its kinda different.
    Who cares. What's more worrying is that people actually buy CDs from HMV, considering it's an overpriced dump.
    and technically this could be a discriminatory case in the example of someone who may be Samoan or some other religion that has tattoos as a rite of passage.
    And the company will obviously (if someone by an odd chance happens to be samoan and work there) have to consider those cases when they come up. Just as a woman is not going to be forced to cut her hair short(which actually might be a case of gender discrimination) no samoans are obviously not going to kept from working there. But then we also will have to consider how small that probablility would be for a fully tattoed samoan to work in a chain store selling records. Obviously koptic christians often wear a tattoo of a cross under their wrist, but I would imagine that also falls under religious freedoom.
    Sorry, one negative too much there.. Obviously no samoans are going to..*
    "Even flip flops have been banned.". This has crushed me. I live in flip-flops, am often referred to and known as the flip-flop guy and have often considered and thought of working at HMV. :'(
    On the one hand.. at least I will no longer be asked "where I can find such and such" or "Why havn't you got this generic out of print album in stock" by random customers in HMV who assume from how I look I'm an employee, on the other, it's a bit lame of their management...I mean,I work in the service industry, which has a lot more up close time with customers, In Clifton,which is a very posh part of Bristol and, as long as I'm tidy, I'm allowed to have long, bright pink (or whichever colour I feel like that month) hair, and they have no problem with my wrist tattoo fact,I often get more tips than others, because I look quirky,and Im good at my job, because having long hair doesn't (strangely enough) affect quality of work!!
    I think tattoos are stupid/pointless and a waste of time and money but should they really be banned or prevent people from getting jobs?? That's one of many reasons I don't go to chain stores. I hate how company's try to control people's lives in that way.
    Well, they're pointless in the same way art on your walls might be considered pointless. Companies do have every right to set a dresscode for employees, that's something you accept by working there. There is also no talking about "banning" anyone. What the company have said is that they do not want visible tattoos on their employees, so if someone have them, they'll have to cover them up.
    Art and tattoos are very different, I wouldn't even compare the two. It would be like comparing Beethoven to Nickelback (I know the hatred of Nickelback thing is played out but bear with me). Yes companies do have every right to set a dresscode but that doesn't make it right. The Westboro Baptist Church has every right to picket funerals too. Idk I always find it refreshing to see people who don't have tattoos when everyone has them.
    Employees have the right to wear what they want and to look how they want; but in the same instance, businesses have the right to ask their employees to tone down their looks and if they have a problem with that, they don't work for them. Yet, I still take issue in that, they actually BANNED tattoos and piercings and long hair, because generally, people who are going to apply for a job at a music store are music FANS, and a lot of those people will have all those things.
    I'd not shop at any music realtor that doesn't have at least one grizzled, long haired, tattooed staff member. For the same reason I would never go to a butchers shop run by vegetarians.
    When I came over from the states, it was refreshing to see a large company give their employees so much personal freedom. Places like FYE here have a surprisingly strike dress code as well. I may be the minority, but it will always prefer a person selling me a product rather than a bland corporate robot of a salesperson.
    Dress codes are common for a lot of jobs, so I don't understand why it's such a problem in a music store. Besides getting a tattoo was ur own choice, if you expect to become something more than just a clerk you don't get tattoo's that you can't cover up.
    Wow this is technically discrimination, they cant bring in such heavy mandates like this, unless they are grandfathering all current employees with tattoos and long hair into being allowed to stay that way otherwise the most they could do is require them to wear long sleeve shirts and pull their hair back. Obvious things like facial tattoos are a different story because they can't be easily concealed. But who the **** cares in the long run are we still living in the 30s? If you don't like the fact someone has tattoos and/or long hair just dont pay any attention to them and certainly don't whine like a little bitch about it.
    i couldn't possibly muster up the energy to care about this in any capacity
    One thing I hate about rules to do with hair length is that it ONLY ever applies to men. When you apply for a job as a male, they'll ask you to cut your hair before asking you to tie it back, if you're a female, they'll instantly ask you to tie it back. Tattoo rules are always ridiculous, I don't care what views people have on it, the fact that people will be rendered jobless because of a skull on their arm or something is just plain wrong.
    They'd better be paying them enough to afford the upkeep of their dress code otherwise they'll be hiring people that can't even buy what they require.
    As a long haired music fan, I like that I can go into a shop and buy music from other long haired/tattooed music fans. Half the staff in the HMV's in Dublin are long haired/tattooed, they really can't force this rule, it's crazy.
    I respect that people and customers expect said employee's to look "neat & tidy" but cmon!? REALLY!? "remove your body art" ...oh okay! Let me just peel off my skin for another hard day with the worlds most contradicting management
    Been working in a music store, forced to take out even ear piercings, getting my hair cut and constantly got shit from my boss for wearing "wrong" clothing (like black jeans and boots). Funny thing is, the costumers went to ME to ask whenever they had questions on rock/metal music, because I looked like one who might know about it . Luckily, that shitty chain went out of business - And I have been eagerly trying to support small independent stores since, as they don't act like it was a supermarket, but threat costumers with respect and focus on music of all sorts - not just the mainstream stuff that you might as well buy at your local supermarket.
    The needs of the many versus the needs of the few. This policy will (Perhaps)get them a bit more business from the older crowds, but at what cost? People are going to have less chances for jobs, and some will be fired. So, to insure the big-man up at the top office makes an extra $200,000 a year, a handful of employees lose their jobs, and we all know that in this economy they're not easy things to find.
    If they made 20 bucks an hour to be a cashier I guess I could see it, but for the 7.50 they're earning, when the customer is gunna look exactly like they do, I think it's kinda pointless.
    This may only be in the UK stores, but I'll certainly be taking my business elsewhere. Unfortunately, since Newfoundland's a dump and the only other record store here charges upwards of $20 for an album, this means ordering online. Joke's on you, chumps!
    Zangetsu 101
    When I walk into an HMV store or any store, shop, fast food place etc I don't have any expectations of what the staff will or should look like. I couldn't care less if they have long hair or tattoos or piercings. I expect to see real unique people and will never be put off by the way someone looks. Who gives a shit?
    So this happened in the UK? It could never happen in the US because here people who work at places like that get paid (I think) minimum wage... which no one can live on which means it's basically only kids who work there.
    To be fair they need try whatever they can to stay in business, and looking clean and tidy is hardly going to alienate people...
    SHaun Steel
    This is absurd surely they wont be able to get away this. HMV bosses can go frig themselves with a meat hook. Twats!!!