A woman has shared how she believes she was rejected from getting a job at T.J. Maxx because of her tattoos.

In a digital age where first impressions can make or break careers, one content creator’s experience with a major retailer has ignited a heated debate about hiring biases.

Ash Putnam, a 23-year-old from California, took to TikTok to share her frustration after being rejected by T.J. Maxx. Her visible tattoos, including a skull design on her neck and solid black patches on her arms, were at the center of her concerns.

“I hate that my tattoos are such a defining factor for me getting a job or not,” she lamented in a TikTok video. “Just because I have tattoos doesn’t mean I’m not going to be a good worker.”

Following her rejection, she returned to the store for answers.

She said: “I went in today and I was like, ‘So, what was the reason I didn’t get hired?’”

According to Putnam, the hiring manager at T.J. Maxx cited lack of experience as the reason for her rejection, denying that her tattoos played any role.

“I asked her if it was about my tattoos, obviously, because I know a lot of places don’t like tattoos,” Putnam continued. “She said that wasn’t the reason… I don’t feel like that’s true, but, whatever, I’ll leave it at that.”

Putnam then questioned how teenagers and others with little work experience are expected to find work when so many workplaces are adamant that all employees are hired with plenty of years under their belt.

Credit: Nicola Tree / Getty

However, her apprehensions about whether or not her tattoos led to her rejection from the role sparked a fierce debate in the comments section.

The viral video garnered 7.4 million views and drew a mix of opinions. “There is no way any company would put you in front of customers like T.J. Maxx,” one commenter claimed. Another, claiming to be a former hiring manager for the store, attributed the rejection to Putnam’s facial piercings and tattoos.

A tattoo artist then shared their thoughts, writing: “I’m a tattoo artist of 15 years, you have to have a set career path before you go big on face and throat tattoos.”

Others suggested alternative roles for the TikToker, such as working in a call center or at a bar.

But as Putnam put it herself: “My tattoos and piercings have nothing to do with me being a good employee or not.”

Per Business Insider, a LinkedIn survey conducted in 2018 showed that 40% of respondents admitted to rejecting job candidates solely based on the visibility of their tattoos. Additionally, a staggering 88% of recruiters and human resources professionals believed that tattoos could significantly hinder a candidate’s chances of securing employment opportunities.

However, according to a 2023 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly one-third of American adults now sport permanent tattoos. This trend signals a significant rise in the popularity of tattoos across various demographics, including individuals of all genders, races, and political affiliations.

So, is it time tattoos were more accepted in the workplace? Let us know your thoughts.

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