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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50161
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have been employed by local primary school for the past 4

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I have been employed by local primary school for the past 4 years with tattoos on show with no problem at all then last year I reported school for a data protection issue over my 2 children that attend the school I was proved right by the governors. since then the head teacher has been nit picking over everything ive done, now she is demanding I have my tattoos covered at all times, I have couple on my wrist that's not offensive, but in the summer she has said ive to wear long sleeved tops even if its red hot. she has put in the dress code that tattoos must be covered as much as possible without it impacting on our work, I have even asked parents if they are offended with my tattoos and they have all said no as its not whats on my skin its how I interact with the children I work with and their children love working with me what do you recommend I do shall I get up a petition and ask all the parents to sign it to say they are not bothered about my tattoos being visible in the summer on my wrists many thanks debbie

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Has the employer sad what would happen if you do not adhere to this?


not yet but she wanted me out of the school and was willing to pay me £900 to leave but I love my job and ive not done anything wrong only protect my chidren with the data protection issue and since then she has been picking fault with everything ive done

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

This could actually amount to bullying, which The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) defines as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.” Whatever form it takes, it is unwarranted and unwelcome to the individual subjected to it.


If there have never been any issues with your tattoos, and there have never been any complaint about them, introducing a new policy that prohibits them would be deemed unreasonable and unnecessary because the employer is not trying to deal with any specific issues associated with them.


In terms of what the victim of bullying can do to try and deal with such problems, the following steps are recommended:


  1. First of all, and if appropriate, the employee should try and resolve the issue informally with the person responsible for the bullying.

  2. If the above does not work or is not a viable option, the employee should consider raising a formal grievance with the employer by following the company's grievance policy. This formally brings the bullying issue to the attention of the employer and they will have a duty to investigate and deal with it.

  3. If, following a grievance, the employer fails to take any action or the action they take is inappropriate, the employee would need to seriously consider their next steps. Unfortunately, employment law does not allow employees to make a direct claim about bullying. As such, the most common way of claiming for bullying is by resigning first and then submitting a claim for constructive dismissal in an employment tribunal (subject to having at least 2 years' continuous service with the employer). The reason for resigning would be to claim that by failing to act appropriately, the employer has breached the implied terms of mutual trust and confidence and failed to provide a safe working environment and that there was no other option but to resign. However, this step should only be used as a last resort as it can be risky, after all it will result in the employment being terminated.


In general, a victim should try and gather as much evidence as possible before considering making a formal complaint and certainly before going down the resignation route. As bullying often takes verbal form, the best way is to keep a detailed diary of all bullying occasions so that there is at least some reference in written form that the employer and/or the tribunal can refer to.


many thanks for your help I have been keeping notes and dates on meetings etc with my line manager as im not allowed to speak to the head teacher as an employee or a parent only by letters because of the data protection issue,

Ben Jones :

at this stage you may wish to consider the grievance route as it is the first step one would be expected to take


ok thank you for your help

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome, all the best

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