Preventing & Managing Disputes

by Andrea Darby - Master Medical Tattooist & Industry Educator

The best way to deal with a conflict related to cosmetic tattooing is to endeavour to prevent conflict from occurring in the first place, this article discusses some useful strategies for preventing and managing disputes.

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Conflict can occur between people in any workplace setting and Cosmetic Tattooist are no exception, conflict can occur between; technicians and their clients, technicians and employers, technicians and salon owners, students and their trainers, technicians and suppliers, and technicians with other technicians.

In July 2008 CPP Global published their Human Capital Report1, CPP a broad based human resources company commissioned research in partnership with OPP, Ltd. one of Europe’s leading business psychology firms and Fellipelli one of South America’s leading business psychology firms. The researchers questioned 5,000 employees in Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA. Their study found that 85% of employees stated that they have to deal with conflict to some degree and 29% said that they do so always or frequently, the main factors associated with the conflict were reported to be personality clashes (49%), stress (34%) and heavy workloads (33%).

Obviously the best way to deal with conflict is to endeavour to prevent conflict from occurring in the first place and the CPP Global report provides an excellent focus for adopting strategies to help prevent conflict from occurring in the first instance.

Personality Clashes

When an irresistible force meets an immovable object something has to give.

As surprising as it seems the Human Capital Report
1 indicates that nearly half of all workplace conflict could potentially be avoided if personality differences were managed more effectively. In the publication "The SCAPP Scale - Personalising the Micropigmentation Service2" I discuss how obtaining answers to 5 simple questions can assist a technician to gain a deeper understanding of their clients natural disposition and assist them to personalise the Micropigmentation service.

In addition it is advisable for technicians to develop an understanding of their own personality particularly those traits that may exacerbate disputes.


The SCAPP Scale2 also provides the technician useful information about the clients capacity to cope with stressful situations and the publication Topical Anaesthetics & Cosmetic Procedures3 provides information on managing a clients stress and pain levels prior to and during a treatment. Equally it is important for the technician to effectively manage their own stress levels, in addition to general stress management techniques some specific strategies could include;

  • attending comprehensive training for the services that you intend to provide.
  • not venturing outside of your field of expertise.
  • managing the clients expectations.
  • avoid making promises that you may not be able to deliver.

Heavy Workloads

Many cosmetic tattooists appear to be self employed making it easier for them to manage their own workload, ensuring that sufficient time is allocated for the daily procedure list in addition to regular breaks for rest, refreshments, meals and use of the bathroom will help reduce workload pressure. During consultations and procedures it is also advisable to keep interruptions to minimum, allocating time throughout the day to answer telephone calls and emails will de-stress the work environment and reduce workload pressure for both the client and the technician.


Even with the best of intentions disagreements can still occur, how a disagreement is managed can make the difference between an amicable resolution and a disagreement escalating to a more serious dispute, formal complaints, or legal battles. If you find yourself involved in a disagreement (regardless of the side you are on) listed below are some general tips that may assist you in managing the situation in an attempt to avoid an escalation.

  • don't engage in personal attacks
    e.g. you are a horrible client/technician/employer.

  • avoid using emotive language
    e.g. your work is dreadful.

  • don't exaggerate the situation
    e.g. I look like I have a clowns lips.

  • don't make threats or menace the other party
    e.g. I am not happy and unless you do xyz I will ruin your business with hundreds of bad reviews.

  • don't be untruthful
    - this might inflame the situation.

  • don't make unrealistic/unreasonable demands
    - this might make it impossible to resolve the dispute.

  • don't compound the dispute with unnecessary issues
    e.g. Your salon is too small for me to continue working in ..... and the coffee is terrible.

  • stick to the facts
    e.g. we agreed that the price was $200 but so far you have only paid $150.

  • carefully consider the other parties position
    - clarify their main issues there may be facts that you are not aware of.

  • don't play the victim
    - if you have wronged the other party don't pretend they are attacking you simply for calmly and truthfully mentioning the facts.

  • avoid rationalising
    - particularly if you are in the wrong, this might inflame the other party.

  • be reasonable
    - reasonable behaviour 'might' encourage reasonable behaviour from the other party.

  • clarify your rights and responsibilities
    - don't make assumptions find out exactly where you stand.

  • avoid obtaining advice from bush lawyers
    - obtain advice from those who have qualifications in the specific field, e.g. obtain legal advice from a lawyer, or medical advice from a medical practitioner.


If you find yourself involved in a formal dispute then it would be prudent to establish exactly where you stand and seek competent advice and assistance from experts in dispute management, some of the people who may be able to assist you include;

  • A lawyer
  • Your insurer
  • Consumer affairs
  • Legal aid

Expert Opinion & Expert Witnesses

Some highly qualified Micropigmentation experts are prepared to offer their services for the purpose of providing expert opinions, case reviews, expert reports, and appearances as an expert witness in formal proceedings.

Expert opinions can serve a variety of purposes from simply clarifying the strength of the position of either party right up to providing testimony in court proceedings, expert opinions must be completely impartial they do not guarantee support for either side of the dispute regardless of which side commissions and pays for their services.

It must be stressed that an expert opinion is not a replacement for legal advice and if you find yourself involved in a formal dispute you should seek legal advice from a qualified legal practitioner prior to requesting a report from an micropigmentation expert, particularly as the way in which the report is commissioned could affect your ability to use the report in any subsequent legal proceedings.

Click here if you require the opinion of a micropigmentation expert


Associated Articles:

The SCAPP Scale - Personalising the Micropigmentation Service

Topical Anaesthetics & Cosmetic Procedures



  • CPP Global.Human Capital Report. July 2008
  • A. Darby DAAM, CMI, MT.The SCAPP Scale - Personalising the Micropigmentation Service. Educational Articles. 26/07/2014
  • D. Darby RN & Andrea Darby - Master Medical Tattooist. Topical Anaesthetics & Cosmetic Procedures. Educational Articles. 12/03/2013


Date of most recent revision: 14/04/2015 (mutatis mutandis)
Original publication date: 14/04/2015

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