A tattoo lover has claimed she was sacked 30 minutes into her dream job because of the ink visible on her neck and hands.
Claire Shepherd, from Swansea, said she has even received abuse over her tattoos and her family hate them, but despite all of that she wants to get more.
The 32-year-old got her first tattoo during a girls’ holiday in Magaluf when she was 18, and now 14 years later she is covered in them almost from head to toe.
Claire figures she has spent about £3,000 on the designs, which include stars on her neck, a bird escaping a cage and intricate patterns on her hands and arms.
Her eyebrows are also tattooed on.
She said she gets inspiration from magazines and pictures online and while some are “just nice patterns”, others hold a significant meaning for her.
Some take a few hours to complete, while others are so large they are spread out over days.
Claire told the Sun: “To me, it’s a form of art and self-expression – but sadly not everyone sees it that way.
“I get comments in the street and have been bullied online by trolls.”
She was working at B&M in 2014 when she started getting tattoos on parts of her body that could be seen by her bosses and customers.
But, she said, her bosses were understanding and it wasn’t a problem.
She continued to work there as an assistant manager and in 2015 applied for a role as a retail merchandiser with a different company.
Bosses there weren’t as understanding.
Claire said her 30-minute phone interview went well and she was offered the job, but there was a clause saying tattoos had to be covered up.
She said: “To double check it was okay I rang (the boss) up, and then she retracted the job offer there and then, saying they wouldn’t be able to employ me. I’d had the job for about half an hour.
“I was so horrified I posted it on Facebook and then it just blew up and the story went everywhere.
“After a couple of days they offered me the job back, but I didn’t take it.”
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Claire said company policies like that are out of date and unfair, given that stores have thousands of customers walking through their doors with tattoos.
But she doesn’t feel that it is discrimination because it is her choice to cover her body in tattoos.
Claire told how she faces stereotypes and is judged by strangers, and how her parents hate her tattoos.
They shake their heads when she comes home with a new one, she added.
She also has to deal with pointed or cruel comments from people in the street or those she meets for the first time.
She said: “The main one is, ‘What are you going to do when you’re 80?’ I just think, “The same thing I’d be doing if I didn’t have them?’
“If that’s all I have to worry about when I’m 80 then I’ll be laughing.”