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"Starbucks Demands Barista Remove Tattoo or Resign"

I never realized Starbucks baristas were free of visible tattoos. Guess I'm so used to seeing baristas and cashiers (at Whole Foods) with ink.
In fact, here in San Diego I am in the minority for having no tattoos.

What do you all think of Starbucks's policy of no visible tats? Do you appreciate it? Do you not care? Does it seem antiquated? I wonder if they draw the line with ink so as to prevent any body piercings on their employees.


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  1. Love the policy..............
    I don't find the sight of tattoos or body piercings appetizing

    3 Replies
    1. re: bagelman01

      I completely agree with you. One of the worst things about the warm weather is that people wear less clothing, so that one can see more of their bodily depredations.

      I find the policy strange, however. Several years ago we were staying in Brookline, MA and went to a local Starbucks every day. The manager was highly tattooed, which I found extremely unattractive. On the other hand, she was a lovely person, so I was always glad to deal with her, and pleased when she took our order.

      1. re: bcc

        "One of the worst things about the warm weather is that people wear less clothing"

        Actually thats the best thing about warm weather..

      1. Antiquated, plated atop a smattering of ridiculous.

        60 Replies
        1. re: MGZ

          It is all about appearance. Tattoos reflect an image inconsistent with what Starbucks stands for. I know of plenty of restaurants that will not hire waitstaff with tattoos.

          1. re: cwdonald

            "Tattoos reflect an image inconsistent with what Starbucks stands for."

            I'll admit that I'm not really much of a Starbucks guy. For the most part, it's just another chain to avoid. Consequently, I can't say I ever thought much about what they might "stand for". If pushed, I might have guessed something like "making coffee cool for the terminally un-hip" or something.

            Nevertheless, your post made me wonder. So, I looked at their Mission Statement: "Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time." Then there's the principle on "partners":

            "Our Partners

            "We’re called partners, because it’s not just a job, it’s our passion. Together, we embrace diversity to create a place where each of us can be ourselves. We always treat each other with respect and dignity. And we hold each other to that standard."


            I really don't see how a visible tattoo is inconsistent with any of that. In fact, the policy against them actually is what seems inconsistent.

            1. re: MGZ

              Tattoos do make SOME people uncomfortable. I have never heard anyone say NOT having a tattoo makes some people uncomfortable. So if you are turning off some of your customers, wouldn't you be better off not having any tattoos? Makes sense to me.

              1. re: cwdonald

                I think that the "don't scare the squares" approach is perfectly fine - though it has little to do with what Starbucks says it "stands for". But, the thing is, the world keeps spinning. Over time, fewer and fewer people will be made uncomfortable by silly things like that (e.g. homosexuality, mixed-race couples, etc.). When that happens, it's time to reassess the necessity of the rules - or at least stop saying you desire people to "be themselves".

                1. re: MGZ

                  <or at least stop saying you desire people to "be themselves".>

                  No workplace allows you to be 100% yourself. As long as there is a company image (which they all do), then the employees are to represent that company image, and that will always conflict with some personal desire.

                  For the very simple reason that Starbuck also enforces their employee in dress code. They need to wear uniform. That alone should mean no employee can dress however they like to work:


                  I cannot say "I hate green. I don't want to express myself in the stupid Starbuck green..."

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    There's no real dispute as to the scope of the corporate power over its employees. The instant question is whether or not a policy against visible tattoos is out of date, will soon be out of date, and/or is in accord with what Starbucks purports to "stand for". As I said yesterday, should is the issue, not can. For a company that attempts to appear progressive, it seems like any "iffy", backward-thinking policy.

                    1. re: MGZ

                      < As I said yesterday, should is the issue, not can.>

                      I agree to that.

                      <is in accord with what Starbucks purports to "stand for">

                      One cannot expect to be fully expressed in a company setting. An employee is hired to represent the company. Someone may like cuss a lot, but that will likely go against the corporate image. Someone may like to take a bath only once a week, but again that will likely go against the corporate image.

                      <For a company that attempts to appear progressive>

                      It is probably not fair to judge a company based on one policy. Starbucks has long offer healthcare to domestic partners and have buy organic coffee from sustainable individual coffee farmers.

                      Of all the important issue around the environment and in our society, are we focusing too much energy of Starbucks allowing/not allowing tattoo?

                      1. re: MGZ

                        I think this is the most crucial. I don't necessarily see hospitals and lots of corporate America having wide sweeping tattoo policy changes in the next five years - but I think as the current generic policies stand, they're out of date. And for the image that Starbucks tries to project "out of date" isn't where I'd want to be.

                        Going to the world of piercings. The facial piercing is still largely considered to be verboten in the professional world wholesale - but someone with a tiny flat stud in their nose - is that really wildly more or less professional than a woman wearing very large earrings in their lobes?

                        Also - and I could be wrong - but I think that Starbucks does have a more relaxed policy regarding gauged ears. If I recall correctly I had a friend who's brother was working at Starbucks with very large gauges in his ears. He then went to apply at Universal Studios and they were all "the gauges need to go and you can't start here until the holes in your ears are smaller".

                        If a company is all "no non-ear piercings and no visible tattoos" - whatever. But to be lax about gauged ears and then highly restrictive on tattoos feels odd.

                        1. re: cresyd

                          Ink doesn't bother me. Sleeves, I don't get them. Black tribal tats can be cool. I'll often see bad art and wonder what were they thinking? I just don't understand this new outrage over ink. I mean it's been around well before the BC/AD calendar switch.

                          Now those ear holes would make me lose my appetite, so I would be less likely to buy one of those little pastries or cookies after reading the price of a triple grande latte half car decaf thru the employees gaping body hole. And yes, piercings have likely been around as long as ink in some tribes, but they give me the heebie jeebies.

                          1. re: Bellachefa

                            I do think gauges - are a bit outside the professional norm. Which is why I find it so odd that gauged ears would be ok at Starbucks, but not tattoos.

                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Exactly. I must observe a dress code. It says I may wear blue jeans only on Friday. I may wear pink/purple/white/brown/black jeans any day I wish. Women may wear blue jeans skirts any day they wish. It's a stupid rule. But if I want to work there, that's the way it is.

                  2. re: MGZ

                    I think it is a balance. Seeing tattoo does make some people feel uncomfortable, and there are less obvious, subtle unconscious decisions make.

                    <I think it is a balance. Seeing tattoo does make some people feel uncomfortable, and there is less obvious, subtle unconscious decision make. >

                    Well, let's face it. Just because a company says it embraces diversity, it does not mean it embrace every kind of diversity. It may want a diversity in term of gender and ethnicity and religions and sexual orientation...etc. It does not mean they want tongue piecing and long facial hair or tattoo....etc.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      *sigh*. I'm going to say something that may or may not get me in trouble.

                      You allude to: gender and ethnicity and religions and sexual orientation...etc. These are quite different from tattoos and piercings and long facial hair. The former are ingrained , hard-wired pieces of your essential identity. The latter are cosmetic choices. To equate the latter with the former is, frankly, insulting to the generations of people who have struggled against racism, sexism, and persecution for these former items. It belittles them to compare them with somebody who thinks it'll be really cool to disfigure their body.

                      1. re: jmckee

                        One of the smartest posts on this thread so far. I got into an ugly discussion with some airhead on fb once who was trying to compare her "struggle" against prejudice as a person with tattoos to the civil rights movement.

                        It's that kind of narcissism that trivializes things of *actual* importance.

                        1. re: jmckee

                          <These are quite different from tattoos and piercings and long facial hair.>

                          I agree. You are not getting a counter argument to me. Not all choices are equal and not all discrimination forms are the same. It is very different (in my opinion) that a person is bring fired for being gay vs a person is fired for dyeing his/her hair in pink.

                          Of course, there are exceptions. For example, one may say that tattoos and facial hair being part of religion expression.

                          I think Starbucks (or whoever) fired an employee for nose piecing. The woman sued/protested because she said that nose piercing is part of her Indian culture/Hindu religion.

                          Of course, there is a huge area of what religion or ethnicity can claim to be essential.

                          We have had that problem with driver license too. Can/should a Muslim woman be allowed to wear Burka for the driver license photo?


                          It is actually a real issue.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            In terms of tattoos along religious lines - henna tattoos prior to a wedding are parts of various sects of Muslim, Jewish, and (I believe) Hindu faiths. While they're not permanent - they can be extensive and on the hands, and depending how dark the pigment - last for months.

                            1. re: cresyd

                              So true about henna. But what if permanent tattoo is part of a culture /sub-culture? What if wearing burka is important for a Muslim woman, should she be forced to take off her burka for a driver license.

                              To me, this Starbucks employee is very minor in comparison. Yes, it is sad, but it is a private company decision, and there are plenty other places to work. She likes her tattoo, but it has no deep meaning to her. (she said it is cute).

                              Whereas requiring a Muslim woman to take off her burka for a state driver license is actually much more intrusive and humiliating. For many Muslim women, the burka is both religiously and culturally important. Moreover, it is the government vs the individual. Getting a driver license is way more important than saying getting to work for Starbucks.

                              1. re: cresyd

                                which makes me wonder how Starbucks would handle it - it's definitely NOT a tattoo, but is most assuredly visible...

                                (I personally think they're really beautiful)

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  Well, I think that goes into the question of "what is a tattoo" - which at some point may be a valid discussion. If a company has a policy that says "no facial tattoos" - if that doesn't apply to someone who has permanent eye liner or henna, then that will need to be expressed. Because permanent eyeliner and henna can also be deemed as types of tattoos.

                                  That's where society is changing, norms are changing, technology is changing, etc. Blanket policies that serve to provide managers with easy decisions only work if all the terms are understood.

                    2. re: MGZ

                      I am one of the few in my generation who finds tattoos a smattering of ridiculous ... They are a permanent reminder of temporary emotion.. or fashion I know everyone id going to say to me.." my tats have very deep meaning to me" welllllll so does my charm bracelet.... so does the painting I bought... and neither reminds me of the numbers on my great grandfathers arm

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Not one I understand. Perhaps too big for me to grasp.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            Oh come on. Her meaning is pretty obvious.

                            1. re: grampart

                              I guess I find it a very big stretch comparing contemporary (not to mention voluntary) tattoos with concentration camp identification numbers.

                              But that's just me. I'm not 13, of course.

                              1. re: linguafood

                                She sees a tattoo, any tattoo, and it reminds her of her great grandfather's horrible experience. Good enough reason for her not to want one.

                        2. re: girloftheworld

                          I wouldn't say any of my tattoos have a particularly deep meaning, actually. Personally, I find them no more ridiculous than piercing your ears or wearing make-up. I just like the way they look, so I have them. Maybe I'm not deep...

                          1. re: girloftheworld

                            I know it is a weird like phobia I probably need to get over...

                            1. re: girloftheworld

                              no...with your family history, it's completely understandable.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                Understandable, but hardly a universal. I got tattooed, and my survivor relatives were hardly traumatised or 'triggered' into comparison. (Although my parents were traumatised in the usual 'how could you do that to yourself' way of parents.) Of course, there is the issue of being buried in a Jewish cemetery, but I have a feeling that's not even so great...
                                It may be a personal association, but again, hardly universal.

                                1. re: Lizard

                                  nobody said universal -- in fact she said "I am one of the few in my generation"

                                  1. re: Lizard

                                    Meh. You can still get buried in a Jewish cemetery. It's an old wives tale that has spread because parents find it useful in trying to dissuade their children from getting inked. I promise. I come from a family full of rabbis.

                                2. re: girloftheworld

                                  also, there are many of us in the older generations from you who see it as a reminder of the tattoos on their grandparent's arms or their PARENT'S arms.

                                  starbucks, to continue to grow, really requires ALL these generations to come in and drop $3/ drink on a regular basis.. . .

                                3. re: girloftheworld

                                  "I am one of the few in my generation who finds tattoos a smattering of ridiculous."

                                  Kid, the majority of your generation don't even possess fully formed brains yet. Nevertheless, they are capable of learning. To that end, I'll point out that assuming you understand every other person's decision making process or value system is dangerous. It can lead to projecting your own onto them. That's what the numbers should remind you of - that's where they originated.

                                  1. re: MGZ

                                    " you understand every other person's decision making process "

                                    I believe I made it clear it clear that it was my personal feelings and I know that others had different feelings. But to think think that it is" ridiculous" in this day and age that anyone would think anything differently than they are the perfect norm is a bit overlooking of peoples values systems as well. And actualllllly the tattooing/branding/piercing of slaves originated long before The Nazi came up with it..they just made it more efficient

                                    1. re: girloftheworld

                                      illegitimi non carborundum

                                      You are incredibly mature, far beyond your years, and I hope you never, ever mature enough to lose the courage of your convictions, especially about Really Important Stuff.

                                      1. re: girloftheworld

                                        There is no dispute that intolerance predates the Twentieth Century.

                                    2. re: girloftheworld

                                      But what if you decided that you WANTED a tattoo so that you wouldn't ever forget the significance of your great-grandparents' experience? People get tattoos for a reason, and most of them are because they want to commemorate something in a very personal way. It might not mean a lot to the rest of the world, but it does to them...

                                      1. re: Kajikit

                                        Then I wouldnt apply at Starbucks.
                                        the idea that there are people who still feel strongly one way was called antiquated with I believe a" smattering of ridiculous" This led me to make my statement that yes I understand people have their reasons for doing things but ... even if I am in the minority there are others who have personal reasons for not getting one and we are not 80 year old not "with the times" people. I fully acknowledged all of the people who get them for their personal reasons I am not saying they are wrong. But to call someone who has personal reasons to say no.. a "smattering of ridiculous" or antiquated is well..I will let you decide what it is.

                                        1. re: girloftheworld

                                          MGZ can clarify if he wants.

                                          But there's a big difference between personally deciding not to do X as you find it distasteful(get a tattoo, shave your head, ride motorcycles, eat anchovies on your pizza, whatever), and firing people who do X.

                                          I'm of the notion that firing people who have small, unoffensive tattoos is antiquated, and even a little ridiculous in a coffee shop. I also don't have any tattoos myself, nor am I looking to get any. No one said personally forgoing tattoos is ridiculous.

                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                            then perhaps I took too personally having been cooped up in the car too long..

                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                              I have stayed out of the fray but wanted to respond to this as I have worked in the retail/service industry my whole life.

                                              "small, unoffensive" is subjective. What is small/unoffensive to one DM or manager is large/offensive to another. It is much easier to support and enforce a blanket "no visible tattoo" policy. As a manager I may not agree with it but it makes my job a hell of a lot easier

                                              For a while my company allowed denim jeans during certain times with the caveat that they be "clean and free of tears and patches". In the first 6 months you mostly saw dark "dress" jeans worn in a professional manner but as people got used to wearing denim you slowly saw that start to change. Folks were wearing distressed denim with manufactured frayed edges, they became sloppier and more casual on their overall style of dress but still technically met the dress code. What was a manager to say? How do you tell one person that their jeans were ok and yet another theirs are not when both met the "clean and free of tears and patches" caveat. It was easier for them to just retract the denim policy.

                                              1. re: foodieX2

                                                "How do you tell one person that their jeans were ok and yet another theirs are not"
                                                The upside of a no-jeans policy is those jeans aren't grafted onto their employees' asses. An 'absolutely no jeans' policy is easier for their employees to abide by than an 'absolutely no tattoos' policy for obvious reasons.

                                                In a more basic sense, are we talking about specifics to this case, or about workplace policies in general? It makes a difference. For example:

                                                - Refusing to hire someone with a visible tattoo is different from firing a good employee because they get a visible tattoo, and either situation is different than firing an employee after 5 years for a policy you didn't bother to enforce until just now. Any of the above are MUCH different than asking your employees to wear different pants.

                                                - 'Small and unoffensive' are undoubtedly subjective as general concepts. In specific, a heart the size of a penny is about as small and unoffensive as tattoos get by just about any standard. I guess you could one up her and get a peace sign that you need a magnifying glass to see. Either way, the tattoo should be easy to cover while at work. So why the nuclear option?

                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                  downthread, someone mentioned that they had read that it's a new district manager who discovered that the tattoo had been there for 5 years.

                                                  Will be interesting to see how this plays out.

                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                    It's the slippery slope factor. The policy is "no visible tats" but I let the penny sized heart slide. Another employee comes back with quarter sized butterfly on the wrist. Do I let that slide? Why is the penny sized heart ok but the butterfly not? So I let it slide. Now how can enforce the policy when yet another employees walks in with a full sleeve starting at the finger tips?

                                                    Or I don't hire someone because they violate the policy? I have just opened the door to a lawsuit.

                                                    The SB policy didn't say no tattoos, it said no visible ones. The problem is one person let it slide and another didn't. Someone f'd up.

                                                2. re: cowboyardee

                                                  What's the difference between a person with tattoos and a person without them? The person with tattoos doesn't care if you have any.

                                                  Also, I really find this alignment of forced tattooing and voluntary tattooing troubling to say the least. And as indicated in my post above, not even necessarily done by those with the closest relationship to forced tattoos.

                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                    "MGZ can clarify if he wants."

                                                    I can, but you've made that unnecessary.

                                                    I will add, generally, that rules, to be useful, should be based on reason that provides justification for them. Arbitrary restrictions of personal freedom are unpalatable to the vast majority of humans. In the instant case, the rule is apparently based upon what I see as poor reasoning: We may offend someone.

                                                    There is no health-related rationale for it. "Some people get icked out" is really the best the policy's supporters can say.* I can't help but hear the echoes of the justifications for the policies requiring black servers to wear white gloves or companies not hiring anybody who "appeared too gay". Catering to those entrenched in their beliefs is rarely a wise long-term strategy.

                                                    *Read the responses herein. They basically boil down to nothing more than that. (I'll leave aside the "it's their house" responses, as those are really just saying they don't care.) I don't think I've even seen a solid explanation as to "why?" it's so icky - beyond mere vestiges of old, traditional norms and stereotypes.

                                                3. re: Kajikit

                                                  I know someone who tattood his grandfathers concentration camp number on his arm with Never Forget.

                                                  1. re: Bellachefa

                                                    Oh my, that gives me shivers. What a poignant tribute.

                                                4. re: girloftheworld

                                                  I lived in Israel for a while, and while I was there I knew this guy who had a tattoo of an enormous cross on his back that was composed out of biblical scriptures written in Hebrew. While tattoos are becoming increasingly popular in Israel as they are in most Western cultures - it was always a unique experience to go with him to the beach.

                                                  1. re: cresyd

                                                    my friends already tease me that i will meet "mister right" and we will go to the lake he will pull his shirt off and then Zaaaaap he will have some tattoo and my weird phobia thing will make me freak out...a physic once even told me it went deeper than the Jewish thing amd that tattoos held energy and I could feel the risudal emotion and that is why I was squidgy over them

                                                    1. re: girloftheworld

                                                      I think we all get challenged about this kind of stuff in ways that we don't expect.

                                                      I do think that is going to be a thing though with younger generations and tattooing becoming so mainstream that there won't necessarily be a "type" of person who gets a tattoo. So descriptions of types like "clean cut" or "conservative" won't necessarily apply to having tattoos or not. Today I was at Whole Foods, and apparently it happened to be '~40 yr old mothers in yoga pants with flower tattoos on their ankle' day at the store.

                                                      1. re: cresyd

                                                        Common since 38% of people between 18-29 have tattoos. I don't even notice them anymore, like pierced ears. I know quite a few suburban moms over 40 who have tattoos. No one bats an eye. I'm really surprised that this is even being discussed as "types" of people who have tattoos. Then again, I was far more conservative/uptight when I was in my teens and have gotten far more lax as I've gotten older.


                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                          interesting read
                                                          "later found out it wasn't his name — and wasn't even Japanese." that is just sad..so sad

                                                          1. re: girloftheworld

                                                            A warning to those who get tattoos to know what you're getting. It's been the punchline in comedies enough to be a cliche. Although, I think it would be a hilarious story to tell. I thought it was touching w/ the guy who got tattoos to commemorate his grandfather. LOL, would you bet the girl who turned the guy down for his tattoos?

                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              It sounds like you've been listening to Robin Williams, who wisely advised not to get tattooed when you're drunk, lest you wind up with one tat in Mandarin and another in Hindi that when combined say that you're the "ass monkey that delivers on Tuesdays."

                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                t" the girl who turned the guy down for his tattoos?"
                                                                not so rudely... but they make me squidgey... eventualllllly I would have to touch where it was...maybe Ill get the right kind of therapy before the time comes..

                                                      2. re: cresyd

                                                        Creysd, The number of tattoos I saw in Tel Aviv was crazy (by which I mean outnumbering what I would have anticipated) but then, this is a city dedicated to declaring its secular status. (eg cafés offering וִיץ' גימבון)

                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                          Yup, throughout Israel - particularly over the past 10 years tattoos have become very popular. But my nonscientific opinion is that it's just more following trends throughout the western world with tattoos more so than anything specific in Israel.

                                                          I will say, as someone who's been pierced in Israel and the US - it's definitely not my first choice.

                                                          1. re: Lizard

                                                            Given the subthread that has since been removed, I find this bit of information fascinating. Tattoos in *Israel*!

                                                            Who knew.

                                                    2. I've heard that Starbucks has a strict corporate culture and I've known people who worked for them in various places over the years and were not fond of the experience, but I am actually surprised at this. It seems to be contradictory to the image I had of Starbucks, which is a trendy place which seeks to appeal to young people with its overpriced chic. I thought they would be one of the latest places to institute such a policy. Tattooed kids hanging out at the mall? Isn't that about half their own clientele?

                                                      My personal opinion is that it's unnecessary, but if a specific tattoo was vulgar or creating controversy, it would be logical and acceptable for them to tell the employee in question to cover it up.

                                                      14 Replies
                                                      1. re: Epicureandreamer

                                                        "It seems to be contradictory to the image I had of Starbucks, which is a trendy place which seeks to appeal to young people with its overpriced chic."

                                                        The Starbucks marketing people deserve a raise then.
                                                        They are the "McCoffee" of the coffee-house world.

                                                        To the OPs post: what bothers me most about the posted story is the claim that Starbucks management changed their minds about an employee's appearance 5 years into her employment. That really is the big "no-no".

                                                        1. re: pedalfaster

                                                          "what bothers me most about the posted story is the claim that Starbucks management changed their minds about an employee's appearance 5 years into her employment."
                                                          Whenever I see something like that, I wonder if the store is looking to get rid of her for some other reason, is worried about a wrongful termination lawsuit (justified or not), and using some guideline out of their employee handbook to force the employee out.

                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                            Here comes the lawyer in me...............

                                                            Look at almost any lease or contract. It will usually state that the lack of enforcement of a right or rule is not to be considered a waiver of that right or rule.

                                                            If the handbook says no visible tattoos, Starbucks can decide when to enforce the rule.

                                                            BTW>>>I personally don't like tattoos and would avoid being served food by a tattooed person. There are health consequences to tattooing. Here you can be turned away from giving blood if you have tattoos, who knows under what condition the tattoo was applied. If the Red Cross says your blood is suspect because you have tattoos, don't be handling my food. Yes, I expect flack for this

                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                              Red Cross' guidelines:
                                                              Wait 12 months after a tattoo if the tattoo was applied in a state that does not regulate tattoo facilities. This requirement is related to concerns about hepatitis.

                                                              Acceptable if the tattoo was applied by a state-regulated entity using sterile needles and ink that is not reused. Cosmetic tattoos applied in a licensed establishment in a regulated state using sterile needles and ink that is not reused is acceptable. There are 40 states that currently regulate tattoo facilities. You should discuss your particular situation with the health historian at the time of donation.

                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                It's a long stretch to apply the standard for blood donation to someone who is merely serving your food. You can get an infection from a server, but getting one that way must be the least likely, if it is possible at all. If you are worried about it, you will have to eat at home, because nobody has a rule prohibiting tattoos which cannot be seen.

                                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                                  Given the widespread presence of tattoos in kitchen staff (that in most restaurants we usually don't see), is this a case of the known unknown for you? Where since you don't know exactly what the tattoo status of a kitchen worker is, you don't think about it whereas at a place like Starbucks where you see the individual it's more bothersome?

                                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                                    "There are health consequences to tattooing."

                                                                    Come on, Counselor, you know, as well as I do, that that argument is basically foreclosed by the Company's restriction of the prohibition to "visible" tattoos. If you're going to justify the ban on a health reason like that, you would have to ban all body ink completely. Arguably, even those that have already been removed.

                                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                                      "the lack of enforcement of a right or rule is not to be considered a waiver of that right or rule."
                                                                      Legally speaking, I'm not claiming otherwise. My point was that I think it's a little fishy that the company only decides to enforce the rule now, and it makes me wonder if they have some other reason for wanting her gone and are using their employee handbook as leverage.

                                                                      And FWIW, ethically speaking, I do find this kind of delayed enforcement a little troubling.

                                                                      Elsewhere in the thread, someone claimed that the issue is a new manager decided to enforce a rule that an prior manager did not. Could be.

                                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                                        Not really flak but some of the best chefs (all?) seem to have tattoos, many prominent. Honestly, if your standard is that the Red Cross has problems w/ taking blood. that would mean anyone who's lived in England post 80's. Having studied there in the 80's, I'm not longer allowed to give blood. but I am allowed, thankfully, to work near food.

                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                          Depending on the situation, laches would could apply. It can definitely attach in employment law cases. Also, fancy seeing you away from the board where I usually see you...

                                                                    2. re: Epicureandreamer

                                                                      Here is Salem, OR, Starbucks' main clientele is state employees and legislators in suits.

                                                                      1. re: Epicureandreamer

                                                                        Starbucks doesn't come off as trendy in San Diego.
                                                                        We have so many popular, smallerish coffee shops, that Starbucks almost seems anti cool. Perhaps the trendy cafes here draw the younger, hip crowd because the baristas are able to show their individual styles? At one very trendy coffee shop, we have an Axle Rose wannabe barista, complete with full sleeve tattoos and pretty large earrings. It doesn't turn me off to drinking or eating. But it does seem to be in stark contrast to the uniformed-Starbx baristas.

                                                                        1. re: Epicureandreamer

                                                                          first of all, really consider how many starbucks' locations must be profitable for them to continue growing.

                                                                          how could you possibly look at the numbers and conclude that the only people that they need to appeal to are "trendy" people, in your words <<appeal to young people with its overpriced chic>>

                                                                          maybe rethink your so-called analysis

                                                                          1. re: Epicureandreamer

                                                                            See I have the opposite view of Starbucks as being the vanilla place that appeals to vanilla suburban HOA types. No mint chocolate chip here. People who frequent Starbucks love PF Chang for Chinese food. So, having a uniform bland image fits that.

                                                                          2. Personally - visible tattoos with foodservice just seem to be such the norm to me that it's funny that Starbucks has this policy at all.

                                                                            I could see the problem of the barista wearing make-up as a cover up of the tattoo for sanitary and hand washing reasons (would you like some foundation in your latte?). But I don't see why wearing a bandaid over the tattoo couldn't fix the problem.

                                                                            Either way, clearly the barista knew enough about the policy to cover up the tattoo during the interview so I'm not inclined to be overly sympathetic. While I have no tattoos, I do have seven piercings. This might sound like a lot to some - but they're all in my ears and three of them are at the top of one ear and often covered by my hair. So I find most piercing and tattoo policies to be antiquated mostly because they're blanket rules that don't really coincide with "professional dress" in as uniform a way as maybe the used to.

                                                                            1. A tiny heart tattoo? Wow.

                                                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                                                    Maybe this would be perfect for Star-bucks.

                                                                                    1. re: grampart


                                                                                      She needed a couple of $$$ inked too though.(*$)

                                                                                      Heck, then the company should be billed advertising fees.

                                                                                1. Honestly, there is something I find ridiculous I must say about the fact that there are jobs and positions far more professional than that of a Starbucks barista which have less of an issue with tattoos. People taking the job are usually either kids or, if they are older folk tend to have enough financial heartache so as to require a second job and certainly don't need Starbucks making their desire for a living more difficult with yet another rather arbitrary obstacle.

                                                                                  Why do Starbucks and fast food companies afford the young people who take their positions even less and impose even stricter roles than many more professional jobs? No one who going to Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, or IHOP is going to turn service down because their cashier or server has a tattoo.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Epicureandreamer

                                                                                    <<I find ridiculous I must say about the fact that there are jobs and positions far more professional than that of a Starbucks barista>>

                                                                                    actually, it makes perfect sense because the starbucks jobs don't have very high barriers to entry.
                                                                                    you don't need specialized degrees and skills, so you are in competition with far more people. you don't have to report to work in one part of town and usually the hours can be maneuvered to work around school and family.

                                                                                    the major factor that limits the competition is the low pay rate which is not much of a limitation these days.

                                                                                  2. Their company, their rules. If you don't like it work somewhere else. In the real world the employee conforms to the employer, not the other way around.

                                                                                    25 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                      I can drink an entire pint of Bacardi in two swallows. That doesn't mean I should.

                                                                                      From a corporate standpoint, this policy, and the growing publicity, is a bad one. It's not like Starbucks' revenues are primarily coming from the "back in my day" crowd.

                                                                                      Maybe some lessons have to be earned.

                                                                                      1. re: MGZ


                                                                                        you know more about what effective corporate policy should be than the folks who have successfully built and continue to grow starbucks.

                                                                                        pretty hilarious idea.

                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                          I know a lack of forward thinking when I see it. I know it's hurt Starbucks before. I know I've seen quite a few companies (and the holders of their debt and equity) suffer when the problem becomes pervasive. In fact, I know enough to feel pretty certain that there is a rift in the decision-making powers at the Company at this point in time.

                                                                                          There are those who know the policy was sound at the time implemented, allowed more people to try and grow be comfortable with the experience, permitted the growth of the loyal customer base that has led to success, and do not think the time is right for a change. There are also those who agree with the history, but see the possibility that the publicity every time this story comes back up will continue to grow until it further alienates the generation they're trying to build the future upon: If Starbucks wants to continue to be the "cool corporation that does seem to corporate", it should ditch the policy soon.

                                                                                          In the end, the policy will be abandoned. Can you honestly imagine such a policy in a decade or more?* It's really just a question of how long you can safely cater to those set in their ways before you trigger the bullshit detectors of those who you need to have step into their place in line. I'm with the second group.

                                                                                          * Remember when men were forbidden from wearing earrings at work and the nonsensical arguments that were provided to support the prohibition?

                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                            I'm really not ever seeing a day, at least in my lifetime, where visible tattoos are normal or commonplace in a professional setting.

                                                                                            Every single one of the folks I know who sports visible tattoos in a professional occupation (anecdotal, I realize, but it's a couple dozen people) has told me that they wish they had either never gotten it at all, or had had the sense to put it somewhere it would be covered by normal professional clothing, even the lady I know who has a beautifully-done orchid on the top of her foot. (as opposed to the skulls, flames, names of former flames, etc., etc., etc that the rest had)

                                                                                            I know a few more who've regretted it enough that they've ponied up to *try* to have them removed. It's never 100%, though -- even after thousands of dollars and multiple painful treatments, most of them still have some sort of discoloration that lingers.

                                                                                            Me? I've thought about it, but I've yet to find a design that I think I'll still want in 20 years...and have been very happy that I don't have the designs I would have chosen 20 years ago.

                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              I've had a friend since undergrad who's had a very lovely peacock feather tattooed on her wrist in the style of a bracelet. While very long sleeves can cover it, given how similar the tattoo looks to a bracelet - even though she works in hospitals, she's often been able to get away with it showing.

                                                                                              I think the change in professional settings will be more about actually narrowing what is considered to be a "professional" looking tattoo vs a unprofessional looking one. If you think about piercings - about 10-20 years ago a lot the dress codes ruled out all facial piercings but technically allowed for gauged piercings (i.e. one piercing per lobe is acceptable). While labret piercings and pierced eyebrows have not become 'professional' - I know of lots of professional employees with a flat stud in their nose. Also, having two piercings in the lobe is now largely accepted whereas having large gauged ears is not (but very small gauged ones can be). Basically, the general corporate/professional world had to learn about and think about piercings to redo a policy that no longer accurately reflected society and 'professionalism'.

                                                                                              So going forward - I do think that there may actually be more narrowing of tattoo policies to make for "taste" decisions.

                                                                                              1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                In Europe (particularly in the UK) I know lots of women who wear a TINY (like smaller than the head of a pin) nose stud, usually just in the crease on the side of the nose. They're so small they're all but unnoticeable, and a couple of times I've mistaken the tiny stud for a fleck of glitter that's ended up stuck to someone's face.

                                                                                                Facial piercings (and to a lesser degree more than 2-3 ear piercings) are otherwise pretty much a no-go in any office setting I've ever been in -- there's some grudging leeway in the art department, or out in the factory/warehouse where there's no contact to speak of with the general public, but not in the front office. Even if they have the holes, people remove the jewelry during the work day. I've known a couple of guys who played in bands, so the eyebrow studs went in when the bearers left the office.

                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                  I think my point in regards to the nose piercing though, is that from a 'corporate dress code' - the wording had to be worked through to get to a point where that was included. Where the rest of facial piercings still remained on the no-go list (and this also includes dealing with various clear/flesh toned piercings.) Point being, companies had to learn/think about earrings.

                                                                                                  I work in the nonprofit industry - and while things are more lax in general, I've also been in some fairly "corporate" environments (such as hospitals). I have a total of seven piercings in my ears (two in each lobe, three at the top of one ear). But the way I wear earrings makes it pretty discrete and has always been a non-issue.

                                                                                                  Like right now the most common visible facial tattoo are probably on women who get "permanent eyeliner". It's a tattoo more in line with henna - but it's a visible tattoo. So a policy like "no visible tattoos" could then easily be attacked without becoming more specific.

                                                                                                2. re: cresyd

                                                                                                  Allowing for "taste" decisions actually opens companies up for discrimination lawsuits so I don't think that day will come.

                                                                                                  1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                    While "taste" in regards to "this tattoo is ugly and can't be shown - but this pretty one can be" - yes. But my example about nose piercings is a case of the professional world essentially saying it has a taste opinion about nose piercings vs other facial piercings. And within the realm of nose piercings, they have a taste opinion of the kind of earring that can be worn. Also whether or not a man can wear an earring at work - a matter of "taste".

                                                                                                    So when I say taste it may be things like "no more than two visible tattoos the size of a quarter or smaller, and the tattoos can contain no words, profane symbols, weapons, competitors logos, etc." - basically some kind of holistic wording that keeps what is "professional" under a blanket policy but does force employers to think about the taste of a tattoo.

                                                                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                      I think that yes, we'll probably see more tightly-defined definitions for piercings and tattoos....BUT

                                                                                                      while piercings can be fairly easily adapted (either remove the jewelry or wear a smaller one that fits the guidelines)

                                                                                                      I'm just not wrapping my head around the combination of wanted to ink your body, but having to check the employment handbook before you head down to the tattoo parlor....because what if the next company's guidelines are different than where you work right now?

                                                                                                      Just makes it easier to either put them where nobody can see them unless you *choose* to let them see them, or just not have them at all.

                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                        I think this kind of stuff will be sorted out informally as much as formally.

                                                                                                        As a teenager I never remember hearing someone say "I'm going to get my nose pierced instead of my eyebrow because it's more acceptable in employee handbooks". It was just a far more informal process.

                                                                                                        If things change as the result of a problem/legal activity - I could see a place being forced to have to explain why permanent eyeliner is acceptable and another kind of visible tattoo isn't. And then develop language around that. Or it could be like nose piercings/my ear piercings - where there develops a subtle understanding of what is considered professional/appropriate/tasteful and what isn't.

                                                                                                3. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                  "I'm really not ever seeing a day, at least in my lifetime, where visible tattoos are normal or commonplace in a professional setting."

                                                                                                  It has nothing to do with normal or commonplace, just simply not forbidden, ignorantly misunderstood, or looked down upon. When you think about it, do you sincerely care whether I or anybody else has a tattoo? Would the statements I make here have different meaning if you knew whether or not I had one? Does it actually impact upon your life if the kid handing you the grande, soy, mocha-whatever has a tattoo on her hand, wrist, back, breast, etc.?

                                                                                                  Even if the ink is the price of a bad decision, don't we all make them sometimes? Hell a "tramp stamp" is at least a reminder of that and a reminder has got to be better than making bad decisions everyday based upon irrational fear and unexamined assumptions.

                                                                                                  Edit: I guess what I'm ultimately getting at is how many of those people you know with regrets really regret the design as much as they resent the lack of acceptance that it has caused them?

                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                    Do I have an issue with a well-done orchid on the top of someone's foot? No. Would I have any problem working with someone has has one? Nope -- I worked with her for several years.

                                                                                                    Do I have an issue with a guy wearing an anatomically-correct pinup on his abs? Only if he chooses to show it off other than at the beach or pool...at least he's showing some sort of recognition that the general public may not want to see the borderline porn. (just for clarification, I'm not talking about nipples)

                                                                                                    Do I have an issue with a swastika (or any racial/cultural/religious slur, anatomical parts, etc) in the middle of someone's forehead? How about just an artistic rendering of a bullet hole in the middle of his forehead?

                                                                                                    Absolutely. The intent between the two styles is an intrinsic exposure of how one looks at the world. Even if the forehead guy has changed his tune (unlikely if he's still sporting it....), his tat still stands as a visible assault on the commonly-held values and mores of society as a whole.

                                                                                                    And in the legal minefield that is today's employment law, you cannot have the orchid, insist the pinup stay covered, but ban the forehead tat and vice versa.

                                                                                                    We are all taught bladder control, table manners, and manners because we are part of a society. We wear clothing that fits certain guidelines (that do change depending on situation) because we are part of a society. It's the same with tattoos.

                                                                                                    It's all or nothing, and it has to be absolutely black and white to avoid the various issues of fair play -- so I have no problem with "nothing" being the choice.

                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                        yes, the straw man of setting up rules that can be applied to everyone equally, which is the crux of this entire discussion.

                                                                                                        Shame on me.

                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                          In the hypothetical you pose, it's the message that is offensive, not the artwork. There are more effective, less restrictive ways to avoid employing someone who voluntarily wants to project such a message. Under your approach, the orchid is forbidden, but a swastika pin on a shirt is ok.

                                                                                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                        Since when is it a problem for employers to fire (most) employees on account of swastika tattoos just because the same employers allow inoffensive body art?

                                                                                                        Employers have a great deal of latitude to fire non-unionized at-will employees (I don't know for certain, but I very much doubt a starbucks barista is in a union or has a contract guaranteeing her continued employment). It's perfectly legal to fire someone who gets an offensive tattoo while retaining employees with inoffensive ones.

                                                                                                        Likewise, if I had a hand-drawn picture of my family on my office desk ('happy father's day, daddy'), that's no problem. If I had a hand-drawn depiction of some KKK shit on my desk I would be fired. Framed photo of my kid - fine. Photo of my boss pinned on a dartboard - fired. Why isn't anyone clamoring for an 'absolutely no pictures' policy to remove these gray areas? Why does the need to eliminate any possible ambiguity or discretion only apply to pictures you put on your body?

                                                                                                        "And in the legal minefield that is today's employment law, you cannot have the orchid, insist the pinup stay covered, but ban the forehead tat and vice versa."
                                                                                                        Yes you can, AFAIK. Show me a single case of an American employee winning a lawsuit over action against his forehead swastika on the basis that his coworker's wrist butterfly wasn't likewise punished.

                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                          In a company as large as Starbucks you are better off having a policy, with no grey area, that is nearly impossible to misinterpret.

                                                                                                          Christian or faith based tattoos may be completely benign to some while others would make a huge issue out of it. The same is true for tattoos with images of pentagrams and goats heads. The last thing Starbucks wants is to have a 10,000 different store managers trying to interpret an ambiguous policy. They would end up with 10,000 different standards.

                                                                                                          1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                            Managers use their discretion in all kinds of other circumstances, from other aspects of appearance (MGZ's swastika pin example) to personal hygiene to demeanor to job performance. What is it about tattoos specifically that calls for an inflexible policy?

                                                                                                            "They would end up with 10,000 different standards."
                                                                                                            That's not necessarily a bad thing. A starbucks situated inside a business park or a hospital might have a different standard for employee appearance than a starbucks on a corner in Brooklyn. If you want un-inked employees in Brooklyn, you might have to bus em in.

                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                      Guess you don't work in the restaurant industry?

                                                                                                      1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                        doesn't matter - do I want to be served by someone sporting a tattoo that is socially unacceptable? No.

                                                                                                        I'll take my business elsewhere, which is just as much my right as the bearer's right to have the tattoo and the owner's right to hire/fire that person.

                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                          Absolutely. I was just commenting that tattoos are very normal and commonplace in the restaurant industry in many cities.

                                                                                                    2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                      Many years ago a friend of mine was fired from a wait staff job because it was discovered she wore knee socks instead of pantyhose. Their rationale was that it was a sanitary issue. My friend, told them she didn't carry plates between her knees.

                                                                                                      1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                        I'm assuming she was wearing long trousers of some sort -- WTH? (we'll assume she wasn't at one of the tight short-shorts places like Hooter's - because yeah, I can see the sanitary issue there....but if she was wearing knee-highs or knee socks, I'm guessing this wasn't the case...)

                                                                                                        Yeah, that smacks of "find any excuse to fire her, even though we really can't justify it"

                                                                                                        1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                          Oh my! File this one away whenever someone talks about the "good old days".

                                                                                                4. Silly policy! Who cares about tattoos?

                                                                                                  1. When I worked for Marriott we had a strict policy of no visible tattoos.

                                                                                                    19 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                      A" Dress Policy" is fine ( as long as it follows legal code).

                                                                                                      I believe the question here will be the legality of a company ~changing~ said code during an employees legal employment contract.

                                                                                                      1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                        I don't think there was any change. The existing policy may not have been enforced by a local manager. The story says that it was a district manager who told her to get rid of the tattoo.

                                                                                                        1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                          They didn't change the policy.

                                                                                                          Starbucks has a long time 'no visible tattoos' policy. The woman in question covered her tattoo with make-up when she interviewed. After being hired, her tattoo was discovered.

                                                                                                          Now why a bandaid covering the tattoo doesn't solve this issue, I don't get.

                                                                                                          1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                            I agree with others. No policy change. However, even if the company changes its policy, it is still within its power to enforce it. Company can suddenly say "No Smoking in perimeter", or "cannot surf internet using corporate computers". They can change any time. My company did. First, it said that no one can use youtube during work. Then, a few year ago, they relaxed the policy and allows limiting youtube use (ie. use your best judgement). Who knows... in a few years, we may be told again that we cannot use youtube during work hours.

                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                              Lots of hospitals went through a similar kind of policy change by essentially claiming that all employees (and arguably their family members) be non-smokers.

                                                                                                              In addition to expanding the hours on when you can't smoke (i.e. during breaks during a shift) - policies around employees not being allowed to smell of cigarette smoke expands the limits further on when an employee can smoke. Not to mention even if an employee is a nonsmoker, if they live with/share a car with a heavy smoker and therefore end up smelling like smoke - that becomes a risk for termination.

                                                                                                              Loads of people were hired before hospitals implemented such policies and then were left with the choice of changing their personal habits or living situation.

                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                Changing things you can do on company time is not at all comparable to asking someone to undergo an expensive and unwanted modification of her body, though. Starbucks is perfectly justified (although wrong IMO) to ask her to cover the tat, which according to the article she's already doing. But telling her it has to be removed even though she's taking steps to ensure it's not seen by customers is akin to your company saying that not only can you not watch YouTube on their time, you can't watch it on your own either.

                                                                                                                1. re: ErnieD

                                                                                                                  I think it is reasonable to say that covering a tattoo on your hand with make up when you're in food service is not an acceptable practice. However a bandaid should be fine.

                                                                                                                  1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                    or makeup and a latex glove or similar....it's fairly common for food-service workers to wear a bandage and a rubber glove to protect burns and cuts -- I have to believe that there's some reason such a seemingly simple solution isn't acceptable.

                                                                                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                      I would be more worried about an employee with bandaids or other bandages than a tattoo.

                                                                                                                      OTOH, I remember decades ago when I saw tattoos as not acceptable -- the mark of criminals. I recall being absolutely horrified when I saw a police officer in Rahway, NJ, with tattoos -- I quickly crossed the street to avoid being truncheoned. Now, of course, seeing police officers with tattoos is routine (at least here in NJ) and I have overcome my prejudices and have no problem with tattoos.

                                                                                                                      1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                        Bandaids and latex gloves are pretty uniform in the food industry. That being said, as Starbucks is definitely more image oriented than food service oriented, I could see them not wanting to encourage someone wearing a bandaid all the time.

                                                                                                                        That being said, I worked at Starbucks for a few summers as a teen. Bandaids and bandages were pretty common amongst staff.

                                                                                                                    2. re: ErnieD

                                                                                                                      <someone to undergo an expensive and unwanted modification of her body>

                                                                                                                      I think it depends. First, like many has said, Starbuck has always had a policy of no tattoo. She knows that during the interview. If anything, Starbuck was giving her the second chance to remove the tattoo. She shouldn't even have been hired in the first place.

                                                                                                                      <to ask her to cover the tat, which according to the article she's already doing>

                                                                                                                      It may not be suitable in a food industry setting. Kind of like you really don't want your surgeon to be putting makeup on his/her hands while operating on you.

                                                                                                                      <ot only can you not watch YouTube on their time, you can't watch it on your own either.>

                                                                                                                      Companies/organization can actually dictate what you do outside of working hours as well.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                        Making a latte (I agree there should be gloves over the makeup) is hardly the same as sticking your hands in my chest cavity.

                                                                                                                        I'm aware that people can get fired for things they do outside of work, and for the most part I find it a grotesque invasion of privacy. If I have five martinis on my own time before my shift, that's one thing, but whatever legal activities people do that don't impede work performance are their business.

                                                                                                                        I'm not saying Starbucks did anything illegal or even really immoral, just that it's a dumb application of an already-dumb policy.

                                                                                                                        1. re: ErnieD

                                                                                                                          <I'm aware that people can get fired for things they do outside of work, and for the most part I find it a grotesque invasion of privacy. >

                                                                                                                          It is their company. Kind of like the idea of "your house, your rule". The host of a party may have some strange requests, but it is his/her house.

                                                                                                                          <legal activities people do that don't impede work performance...>

                                                                                                                          It is likely an image which Starbuck is going for. Work performance is more than just making a latte or flip a burger. It is also about representing the company image.

                                                                                                                          <it's a dumb application of an already-dumb policy>

                                                                                                                          Let the end result be the judge if it is a dumb application.

                                                                                                                  2. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                    What employment contract. Starbucks employee below Top corporate management don't have contracts. They are at will employees. An employer is free to establish and change work rules, shift, etc. An employee can accept the changes or leave employment. Starbucks is not violating anti-discrimination laws with this rule. Tatoos are not a protected class such as Age, Race, Religion, National Origin and in the blue states gender, and sexual orientation.

                                                                                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                      <Starbucks is not violating anti-discrimination laws with this rule.>

                                                                                                                      I forgot to point this out. Yes, any company can select its employee however it prefers as long as it does not violate anti-discrimination laws.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                        all those hours in Constitutional Law during law school paid off......................
                                                                                                                        Not part of my practice, but great for making points on line

                                                                                                                    2. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                      pedalfaster: there is NO emplooyment contract in place here.
                                                                                                                      last i heard, having tatoos does not place you in a protected class.

                                                                                                                      methinks you are fantasizing here

                                                                                                                    3. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                      I've noticed a lot of young people in the hotel industry have to wear arm bands to cover ink on their arms.

                                                                                                                      1. re: globocity

                                                                                                                        We had a guy that worked in the kitchen, with zero guest interactions, who had to wear long sleeves underh is coat because he had a tattoo near his wrist.

                                                                                                                    4. I don't care, but it's their company and their rules.

                                                                                                                      Wanna work there? Okay, make sure you have no visible tats.

                                                                                                                      This is a no-win situation -- okay, she hid the tat at the interview, but took the job knowing that they had a no-visible-ink rule. Her fault. She had to know this was going to end badly.

                                                                                                                      They hired her, but didn't make a mention of it when the existence of the tattoo became known. Their fault. They had to know this was going to end badly.

                                                                                                                      It's a bad situation, but if they allow her to continue working, it means they have to change their policy, and that doesn't appear to be in the cards.

                                                                                                                      Frankly, it's not like it's a $150K annual salary position, and there has to be some other place in town where she can put her experience as a barista to good use.

                                                                                                                      There comes a point where you have to wonder if its worth the money and the time and the stress(IMO, it isn't)

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                        According to the article, she hides the tattoo while she's at work, too. It's not like she interviewed under false pretenses and suddenly started flashing her ink. I think it's a pretty silly policy to begin with, but whatever,you're right-their store means their rules. However, terminating a long-term employee over a tattoo that's technically on a visible part of the body but is being covered by makeup seems excessively intrusive to me.

                                                                                                                      2. You'll note that Starbucks, unsurprisingly, wants to have their Apple Fritter and eat it, too. "Remove your tattoo, or resign." So if she resigns, they don't have to pay out on her unemployment benefits while she looks for, and maybe finds, another barista job.

                                                                                                                        They are likely covering their corporate asses here; while tattoo wearers are not a protected class under employment discrimination laws, a dress code (including an anti-tattoo policy) has to be applied fairly, and across the board. There's a earlier Starbucks case involving a Texas man and his tattoo: http://labor-employment-law.lawyers.c...

                                                                                                                        1. Honestly, I think it is Starbucks' choice. Their company, their policy.

                                                                                                                          They can decide whatever image the company should represent.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                            They're appealing to bland and conventional so the no tattoos policy fits that. I wouldn't be surprised if places like Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs, etc. have the same type policy. No creative thinkers, outside the box employees wanted. It's what is is, like Disney.

                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                              Oh, Disney is a great example....

                                                                                                                              Excellent examples. The rule number one for these companies:

                                                                                                                              Do no damage.

                                                                                                                          2. I find it absurd that Starbucks or anybody should care about tattoos as if it has any impact on someone's ability to make a Frappuccino or do anything else for that matter.

                                                                                                                            It is also sad because, lets face it, working at starbucks is not exactly an exciting career option - it's fast food frankly, Dunkin donuts with better graphics and higher prices. This sort of entry level job is often critical to single mom's, teens etc who need a foothold in the working world - that this is one less employment option for many of the kids in my neighborhood is sad.

                                                                                                                            it is also somewhat silly for Starbucks who as great protectors of their "brand" have solidified their spot as a super-un-cool place, the coffee of expressways and airports. It would be hard to find someone working a coffee house in Philly who was not sleeved with tat's. Is there anyone under 30 without tattoos these days? Who are they trying to appeal to here? Middle America, Middle Class people who are frightened of tattooed gang-bangers?

                                                                                                                            But hey, in a world where corporations are all powerful and allowed to dictate morality etc - I am sure it is within their right to selectively discriminate against people with visible tattoos, I just don't see why they would bother.

                                                                                                                            1. It's such a tiny tattoo. Plus, if it was okay when she was hired, shouldn't she, and it, be grandfathered in?

                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                she hid it when she was hired, and the policy was in place prior to her hiring.

                                                                                                                                Both parties mucked this up in a big way.

                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                  I saw nothing that indicated she hid it in the interview. Of course, she might have, or as it's so small, her interviewer might not have noticed it. Starbucks says its policy is always explained to new hires; maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. That's a "he says/she says" situation. What I get from the story is her direct supervisors either didn't care about policy, or didn't agree with it, and let her tat slide, until the District Manager's visit, when the shit hit the fan.

                                                                                                                                  They want her to resign and go away quietly; well, quietly caught the train - the story is national now. It will be interesting to see if someone backs down, if a local coffeehouse with more liberal tat policies offers her a job, or if this all winds up in court.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                                                                    I would bet that somewhere along the way this girl signed a statement saying that she was aware of the personal appearance policy and would adhere to it. It was probably buried in the usual stack of paperwork everybody gets when they start a new job.

                                                                                                                                    I would imagine the manager who failed to enforce this policy for five years is in some deep trouble.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                                                                        I agree -- there's a key piece of this puzzle missing somewhere along the line -- it almost, but doesn't quite make sense.

                                                                                                                                2. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                  I don't think it was okay when she was hired. It sounds like a supervisor or manager failed to follow procedure on this. That is a whole issue in of itself.

                                                                                                                                3. It's an antiquated policy. They have stated reasons why they don't want ink showing and the only one I've read that makes sense is that tattoos, especially on hands could be mistaken for dirt or as appearing less than pristine. I dunno.

                                                                                                                                  I'm one of few people I know without tattoos. Come to think of it the people I know without tats are my siblings.

                                                                                                                                  1. The girl who served me at Starbucks this week had an "armwarmer" on with a bit of a tat peeking out. I wondered if it was to protect a new tattoo or because she wasn't allowed to display it. I guess the latter.

                                                                                                                                    I think it's a silly rule. What do they do at Starbucks in Samoa?

                                                                                                                                    1. I don't care for tattoos, so I don't have any. (My grandfather had them, so for some reason they always remind me of old people rather than young, hip ones.) They're very common in the San Francisco area, and probably a majority of people working in the food service industry have one or more. If a place has good food, good service, and clean restrooms tattoos don't matter to me.

                                                                                                                                      I've only once commented an a server's ink: she had a very nicely shaded tat done by someone with a lot of skill.

                                                                                                                                      1. I think a policy against any tattoos at all is ridiculous, but a policy which would allow some tattoos but rule out excessive tattooing as presenting an unprofessional appearance would require them to make a judgment. I suppose they are trying to make it easy.

                                                                                                                                        But I almost never go to Starbucks for other reasons, so it doesn't matter.

                                                                                                                                        There is a place I do go that has a bartender with extreme tattooing, fantasy hair color, and piercings. I don't find it attractive and would rather have an attractive woman behind the bar, but she's a good bartender despite her appearance and that's the main thing. I wouldn't stop going in because of her tattoos.

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                          Well that's just it; it's far less complicated, both from a legal standpoint and an administrative one, to say "No Tattoos" than to try to deal with tats and their wearers on a case-by-case basis. Perhaps if they'd never branched out beyond Seattle instead of becoming the corporate Colossus of the coffee world, their policies might be less restrictive.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                                                                            The first things to go after the corporate colossus takeover were the nipples on the logo, but surprisingly they can still be seen on the website.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                                                                              Yup - logically (and not legally) their should be a discretionary store by store policy. Starbucks in the airport/area with heavy and diverse tourist flow? No visible tattoos to highly minimal ones. Starbucks in the middle of a college environment - tattoos are fine as they're not vulgar/adult content oriented. Etc.

                                                                                                                                              However I could see how legally that's a can of worms no one wants.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                              Now the fantasy hair color is gone, replaced by black. That's more to my liking.

                                                                                                                                            3. I don't care one way or the other. It seems that the problem arises when the policy is clearly stated then ignored. This doesn't work with children and, we're seeing, it doesn't work with baristas either. If the Starbucks policy is no visible tats, employees need to understand that working at Starbucks means no visible tats. Period.

                                                                                                                                              Whether the policy is fair, antiquated or anything else does not come into play. It is what it is. Being employed by the corporation means following their rules. Don't like the rules? Work elsewhere. It seems awfully weasly to take a job, knowing the requirements, then whining about them later. Move on, minus the complaining.

                                                                                                                                              27 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                                                "Being employed by the corporation means following their rules. Don't like the rules? Work elsewhere."
                                                                                                                                                No offense to you personally, Sherri (you were far from the only person to offer this rationale), but I really hate this kind of reasoning. Basically, the same argument can be used to justify any policy an employer has for its employees. Don't like corporate policy? "Work elsewhere." If corporate policy is degrading or dehumanizing or dangerous? "Work elsewhere." If those degrading, dehumanizing, or dangerous conditions are needless and pointless and can't even be shown to benefit the employer in any significant way? "Work elsewhere." If degrading and dehumanizing and dangerous conditions become the norm at most companies, or across whole industries?

                                                                                                                                                Whether the policy is fair or antiquated absolutely comes into play in terms of whether we should be critical of it. It is of course debatable where the line is between a reasonable policy that a company might employ to protect its image or its profits and an over-reaching policy that treats employees as though they were chattel and undermines their basic dignity, self-determination, or safety. And I'm not claiming an anti-tattoo policy crosses that line. But I'll criticize away when I think a company is making personal demands of their employees without reasonable justification. Signing their checks is not justification in itself.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                  while I agree with you in principle, the reality is that employment boils down to "like it or lump it".

                                                                                                                                                  Obviously, dangerous and illegal needs to be reported and enforced.

                                                                                                                                                  But stuff that isn't blatantly illegal is under the domain of if you want to work there, sit down and shut up.

                                                                                                                                                  the part that REALLY sucks is that even when there is discrimination or wrongdoing, you better make sure you have an absolutely irrefutably watertight case. If you file a case that you don't win with enough financial remuneration that you'll never have to work again....you'll never work again, because you are now a troublemaker. And THAT sucks ten kinds of ass.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                    "Obviously, dangerous and illegal needs to be reported and enforced.

                                                                                                                                                    But stuff that isn't blatantly illegal is under the domain of if you want to work there, sit down and shut up"
                                                                                                                                                    Legally speaking, you're right - though you can always lobby for a change of laws if you particularly love uphill battles.

                                                                                                                                                    Ethically speaking, though? It used to be legal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race or sex. It is still legal in some cases and some places for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Child labor, compulsory 70 hour work weeks without overtime, indentured servitude... all legal at one point. What's legal has little to do with what's justifiable or ethical or commendable. If corporate policy is oppressive but legal, vocal and harsh criticism is not only appropriate but maybe even helpful.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                      totally agree with you....but in a state where employment is "at will", there's not much hope.

                                                                                                                                                      Someone close to me was written up for having turned off her Blackberry while she was at the beach with her kids, on an approved day off.

                                                                                                                                                      Someone else close to me was bullied and marginalized by both coworkers and management.

                                                                                                                                                      Employees are mostly expenses, given the consideration and loyalty that one would give a machine that is set to run 24/7, and shitcanned when they break down.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                        Hi cowboyardee,

                                                                                                                                                        <If corporate policy is oppressive but legal, vocal and harsh criticism is not only appropriate but maybe even helpful.>

                                                                                                                                                        Agree 100%. But it has to be the public at large doing the criticizing. One or a few employees offering criticism is likely to result in change, yes. But that change will be in the employee's employment status.

                                                                                                                                                        Even when the public does get involved, it has to be overwhelming condemnation to make change occur. A case like this one, most people won't see the policy as outrageous and won't be moved to picket, boycott or even write a strongly worded letter.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                          wanting a certain "look " to your company is not exactly the same thing as the triangle shirtwaist factory
                                                                                                                                                          Hooters, Holister, are not going to higher the same people as Lowes or Homedepot( well they might) but you get m y point... it why DIsney calls it "casting" not hiring

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                            Hi girloftheworld,

                                                                                                                                                            I couldn't agree more. That's why I wrote:

                                                                                                                                                            "A case like this one, most people won't see the policy as outrageous and won't be moved to picket, boycott or even write a strongly worded letter."

                                                                                                                                                            I didn't mean that *I* find the policy outrageous. To the contrary, I'm fine with virtually all "appearance" rules.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                            "Even when the public does get involved, it has to be overwhelming condemnation to make change occur"
                                                                                                                                                            I disagree. Sure, not many people are likely to boycott starbucks over this policy (though a few people who have visible tattoos themselves might feel uncomfortable enough to look for another coffee shop). There will be no overwhelming condemnation.

                                                                                                                                                            But this is a lot of attention paid to a trivial policy that many people disagree with (albeit not particularly vehemently). And considering the trivial nature of the policy, the possibility of making the national news outlets may discourage employers from sticking to these policies in the future. It's not overwhelming condemnation and boycotts. But it's a hassle and bad press over a policy that gains them little in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                              Hi cowboyardee,

                                                                                                                                                              Well, that might be true sometimes, but as a general rule, it takes a pretty big corporate blunder to get the major news outlets involved. IME, it takes a REALLY slow new cycle (several of them in a row, in fact) for the big dogs to notice something this trivial. So far, I'm not seeing anything that would make Starbucks sweat even the tiniest bit. And given what's happening in the world, this kerfuffle is likely to die a quiet death.

                                                                                                                                                              But if this does break wide, I'll come back and digitally eat my hat.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                        Cowboyardee wrote: "But I'll criticize away when I think a company is making personal demands of their employees without reasonable justification. Signing their checks is not justification in itself."

                                                                                                                                                        Does your reasoning mean that as employer I cannot stipulate a dress code or personal grooming policy for my business? Using your rationale, just because I am signing the checks, I have no authority to ask/expect my employees to behave/dress/present themselves in a certain manner?

                                                                                                                                                        The OP asked about a corporate policey re: tattoos. I responded basically that it was the golden rule - he with the gold makes the rules. There was no discussion of this policy being dangerous to the employee so the 70 hour work week comparison is unfounded.

                                                                                                                                                        I think we can agree that drawing lines can be a fuzzy area, whether they be political boundries or employment strictures. But I stand by my earleir comments. When the policy is straightforward and clearly explained prior to employment, you take the job and subsequently decide you don't want to abide by the policy, it is time to move on. Go ahead and agitate for change, just do not do it at my place of business, on my time.


                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                                                          I think the problem with the dress code is that it's not clear and that's where it needs to be clarified. If I have a tattoo on my face that I'm able to cover with make up (so as to be invisible) - is that acceptable/different from wearing make up on the hands, and if so why? Why are the only options removal of the tattoo or new employment? Why is wearing a bandage or surgical tape over a tattoo inappropriate?

                                                                                                                                                          "No visible tattoos" works if you presume all the tattoos that people get can be covered by clothing, and if they can't be covered by clothing, then they shouldn't/can't work for you. But that's only an interpretation of "no visible tattoos", not something without room for questions and interpretation.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                                                            "Using your rationale, just because I am signing the checks, I have no authority to ask/expect my employees to behave/dress/present themselves in a certain manner?"
                                                                                                                                                            From which part of my post would you extrapolate this?

                                                                                                                                                            My point was that employer policy should be judged on a case by case basis, and is not justified by 'my business, my rules,' logic alone.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                              but that starts to become less and less workable when your headcount grows higher and higher.

                                                                                                                                                              "Case by case" works fine when there's 2 or 3 locations and 25 employees total.

                                                                                                                                                              It starts to get pretty stretched at the seams when you expand that you thousands of locations with tens of thousands of employees across borders, cultures, religions, and languages.

                                                                                                                                                              At some point you have to say this is the rule and if you don't follow it, you need to move on, because "case by case" very quickly moves from being defined as "from one individual to another" to one lawsuit after another.

                                                                                                                                                              even with a dozen employees it starts to get pretty difficult to explain why a small heart on the hand is okay but a teardrop under the eye is not....so if you just say "no visible tattoos" there's no conversation necessary.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                I think you misunderstand me.

                                                                                                                                                                I'm not saying employer rules should be reinterpreted over and over again in the case of each employee. I

                                                                                                                                                                I'm saying bad employer rules should be criticized when they come to light and reasonable workplace rules should be accepted and understood.

                                                                                                                                                                As such, a workplace dresscode that required employees at an accounting firm wear ties is fine.

                                                                                                                                                                Meanwhile, a workplace dresscode that requires employees at an accounting firm to wear t-shirts proclaiming that 'god hates ____s' due to the particular social beliefs of the boss is awful.

                                                                                                                                                                Neither is justified by 'my business, my rules.' The former is a reasonable business decision that employees should accept as the prerogative of management to help the business run well. The later is a grave overstep in which management is not only offensive but giving no thought to the dignity or personal experiences of its employees.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                  I think to expand on that - simply by criticizing a dress code - whether it be about piercings/tattoos or even suit and tie culture - there begins a process where this stuff is changed.

                                                                                                                                                                  30 years ago, wearing jeans to work for an office/corporate job was probably a true rarity. Now you have the entire Silicon Valley/Tech industry where it's pretty mainstream. So while if I'm looking to have a mainstream corporate job with hand tattoos now - that's probably still a bit niche. But there is a value in criticizing a policy seen as flawed.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                                                            What I think is fair to debate is the notion of no "visible" tattoos. With the emphasis being on visible. The article says that the employee had been covering the tattoo with make-up. So technically it wasn't visible, though I do think that make-up is both an imperfect cover and possible sanitary problem.

                                                                                                                                                            So why wouldn't a bandaid be acceptable? If say I have a tattoo on my stomach, then it's not visible because my shirt covers it. However, if I have a tattoo not readily covered by clothing - what are the acceptable (and thus also unacceptable) ways to make the tattoos invisible. That is a gray area in the code and one totally open to complain about.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                              that's part of the piece that's missing that keeps this whole story from really making sense.

                                                                                                                                                              There's something fishy about the story -- the tattoo policy isn't new, and if she covered the tattoo at the interview she knew about it.

                                                                                                                                                              I'm not buying that nobody saw a flash of her tattoo for five years...so why after that length of time is it suddenly a leave or get sacked crisis?

                                                                                                                                                              I'm also not buying that the options discussed here haven't been brought up -- gloves, bandage, etc....

                                                                                                                                                              So maybe when somebody ponies up with that missing link the answer will become more clear.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                Exactly. If someone had the same exact tattoo on their face and covered it with make up (and the cover job was complete), then I have a hard time seeing what the complaint would be as loads of Starbucks employees wear make up on their faces. So if the problem is make up on the hand, then exactly the discussion about gloves/bandage would need to be explained to me.

                                                                                                                                                                I do think that this is where the intersection of tattoo culture becoming more mainstream and corporate culture are really going to have to sort themselves out. 10-20 years ago, having a tattoo on your hand or face was considered pretty extreme/counter culture. So a phrase like "no visible tattoos" essentially told people 'wear long sleeves/long pants/long skirts/etc if it's needed to cover the tattoo'. Because the thought that someone with a face/hand tattoo would be in the corporate world at any level wasn't thought of.

                                                                                                                                                                Today, someone having a small tattoo on their hand, neck, or face that they presume to cover with make up/bandage for work isn't such a shocking thought. If that's not acceptable (or say acceptable on the face but not the hand, or vise versa) - then the codes need to reflect that and adapt to a society with different tattoo patterns.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                  Aaron Sanchez has very heavily tatted hands ... they are covered with makeup for most of his filmed shows....again it is a matter of presenting a "look" that is appropriate for the image they want.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                                    Have you noticed if he wears make up on his hands when he's actually cooking? Admittedly, he doesn't cook often on television anymore - but I'm curious about that. To me, that doesn't sound sanitary at all. Touch my foods with washed hands, touch it with gloves, please don't touch with foundation…...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                      because every woman knows that they tell you constantly to throw out your foundation because it becomes overrun with microorganisms, but how many of us actually do?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                        right! never pump your mascara..and toss that foundation every three months.....or you will get flesh eating bacteria....and other slumber party horrors...I would go broke!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                          In addition to that, I think it also brings to mind the idea of non-toxic paint in my food.

                                                                                                                                                                          As the store or district manager - I'd largely be concerned that hand washing might get lax. In particular in a place like Starbucks where an employee can go back and forth between food tasks and non-food tasks.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                          Umm my answer got -- deleted for some reason.. have no idea.. why... but... I never reallllly noticed them on his hands while he cooked. he does not have them in his commercials. You can only see them on air on very rare occasions.(when he judged the BBQ cook off some episodes of Heat seekers with Chirs) . when I asked about them I was told they are covered with a cosmetic medical make up - I assume it would be pretty expensive to do do everyday for someone to have to wear to work...

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                                            Aaron's hands are also VERY heavily tattooed. But I 100% understand why a company would pay for the make up to cover them.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                              yes..actually he is... arms full torso...though I have hunch as he becomes more famous he will show more of his ink... Because he doesnt have to work at Starbucks

                                                                                                                                                              2. As it's becoming the rule and not the exception for retail employees to have tattoos, I'm probably less bothered by it than I used to be. But I'll never like or approve of them.

                                                                                                                                                                I remember in the mid 90s discussing tattoos with a young woman at work, and I said I thought they were particularly unbecoming for a woman to have. She turned and asked the boss his opinion. His response was everything I'll ever again have to say on the subject.

                                                                                                                                                                "It's not classy."

                                                                                                                                                                39 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ebchower

                                                                                                                                                                  Hi ebchower,

                                                                                                                                                                  I advise people considering tattoos to use the "grandma/pa" rule. When you're a grandparent, will it be something that you'll be uncomfortable explaining to your grandkids? Will it still look good when your skin is wrinkled and sagging?

                                                                                                                                                                  I like tats as jewelry, generally. Arm bands, bracelets, tramp stamps, small ornaments, military or social associations, etc... Big ones sometimes make me cringe.

                                                                                                                                                                  And I try to remember that social norms change. Once upon a time, pierced ears meant you were trashy.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                    If young people thought about the future that way, they'd never do anything risky. Their brains just aren't wired for thinking about their long term being. I know mine certainly wasn't.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                                      <If young people thought about the future that way, they'd never do anything risky.>

                                                                                                                                                                      Even though I agree that many young people live mostly in the moment with little thought to long-term consequences, I believe they do think of tattoos as forever. They just think there won't ever come a time when they're not tickled pink to show them to the world. This is why, when asked, I give them my advice.

                                                                                                                                                                      A visible tattoo will be seen and noticed by one's grandchildren. Actions taken in the moment will not. The grands can't ask about that time Poppy did naked jello shots at a frat party if Poppy doesn't tell them it happened.

                                                                                                                                                                      Unless he memorializes the occasion with a tattoo.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: ebchower

                                                                                                                                                                    I don't find your boss policing women's bodies to be particularly classy, so I'd probably take his opinion on class with a grain of salt.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ErnieD

                                                                                                                                                                      since the conversation was with a female employee, are we completely sure that he woudn't have said the same to a male?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                        " I said I thought they were particularly unbecoming for a woman to have."

                                                                                                                                                                        Sounds like it's more skewed against women.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                          that was ebchower's opinion, not the boss's directive.

                                                                                                                                                                          (for the record, I don't know if ebchower is male or female)

                                                                                                                                                                          (edited to properly attribute the quote....)

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: ebchower

                                                                                                                                                                      Why are tattoos more unbecoming on women than men?

                                                                                                                                                                      I ask this in all sincerity.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                        Because women only exist to be pleasing in their appearance to others.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                          Well, duh. I was just hoping for more...

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                            In an attempt to pacify those who will classify women as "classy". As the saying goes, well behaved women rarely make history.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                            Before tats became widely accepted, it was only certain tattoos on certain men that were acceptable. For the vast majority of men, tattoos were a sign that you were of a low social class. Under no circumstances were they acceptable on women, you're right.

                                                                                                                                                                            Personally, I don;t find them more unbecoming on women.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                              I'm only referring to right now, not tattoos throughout history.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                Well, right now, I don't think they are. I haven't seen any evidence that people don't like them on women. Maybe I need to get out more?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                  You haven't seen any evidence because gentlemen don't express their dislike in any way that is visible. Having a dislike of something does not make one intolerant or rude.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                Saw a tatt shop bumper sticker on a barrier at the Triborough Bridge tollbooth: Tattoos! They're not just for sailors and hookers anymore!

                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                Because there are two distinct populations deciding what is "becoming." For the most part, it is men who decide which women are attractive and women who decide which men are attractive. Each group applies its own standards.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                  Haha I've got to disagree with that! Attractive isn't merely sexual attraction. If it was, I imagine people would dress much more, um, differently than they do now. I just decide what's attractive to me and go from there.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                    And yet, when it comes to dress, men really don't seem to care what women like.

                                                                                                                                                                                    When was the last (or any) time you heard a woman remark "Wow! Take a look at those baggy below-the-knee cargo shorts on this guy... what a stud!" Or tell her bestie "Guys with their butts hanging out of their pants... now THAT makes me cream my jeans!"

                                                                                                                                                                                    Keeping it OT, I wonder how Starbucks feels about pants belted at the thigh.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm sure you've seen the story by now that the "city" (the term is used in a legal sense) of Ocala has now made it illegal for your britches to be more than 2" below your waist while you're on city property.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm not thinking that's going to last very long.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                        Omg. My parents and sister and bro-in-law live there. It's hysterical. My sister and I were trying to decide if we actually know any women who wear pants 2 inches from their natural waists. Mom jeans will be making a comeback in central Florida, I guess....

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                            now....2" ABOVE your natural waist might actually be something that happens in Ocala.

                                                                                                                                                                                            (for the rest - Ocala is a very small city (<50,000) people smack in the middle of the Florida peninsula -- the leading industries are the production of emergency vehicles, mobile and premanufactured homes, race horses, and retirement communities.

                                                                                                                                                                                            It's not a horrible place -- the rolling hills are really pretty, but exciting and trendy it isn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                            Hadn't seen that, sunshine. We don't get a lot of Ocala news here. Still, how funny is that?

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm thinking you're right. It's going to get filed in the "get real" file.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I was a tall kid, and grew at an often alarming rate. Mini skirts being what they were, skirts that fit perfectly in September were far too short in January. I spent more time having my skirt measured than I care to recall.

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                            Those fashions convey membership to their respective subcultures. Generally speaking, either of those subcultures are disinterested in being accepted by people who use terms like 'bestie,' 'stud,' or 'cream my jeans.' The standards for male dress and neatness in urban black youth culture are actually quite high (despite bustin a sag). It's not supposed to appeal to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                              then by the same token, it should then apply that if you're trying to appeal to someone not in your cultural group, it might possibly make sense to dress in a manner acceptable to that group.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Use the right bait for what you're looking to catch...whether that's a job or a partner.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                Of course. Goes beyond appearance to dialect, conversation topics, and even body language as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The danger is in assuming that all appeals should catered to your particular cultural tastes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                  "The danger is in assuming that all appeals should catered to your particular cultural tastes."

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Poor Eruo Disney

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                                                                    actually, Disneyland Paris is considerably more flexible to its workers, according to the folks I know who've worked in Orlando and Paris.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                Hey cowboyardee,

                                                                                                                                                                                                <It's not supposed to appeal to you.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                You're right there. But I wasn't talking about appealing to me. I was talking about appealing to the ladies those men would like to attract. I doubt a 60-yr-old grandmother is on their radar, but surely a cute young thing is attractive to them. I contend that they don't care whether she likes their dress.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I've asked several young women if they like the "sag". They all said they did not, but what choice did they have, because all the boys do it. This is what I'm talking about. The boys dress to impress each other. The girls dress to appeal to the boys.

                                                                                                                                                                                          4. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't want to digress from the OP's topic, but as Duffy H posted, they were long associated with blue collar men and there's still more of a social stigma for women to get them despite the increase in their popularity. They are still not "widely accepted."

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ebchower

                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, since the topic was tattoos, I don't think we're digressing too much. As for there being "more of a social stigma", I disagree. Tattoos for both men and women are common in both my profession and social group. It really just matters who you talk to.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Is your answer essentially that you think they're unpopular so you don't like them? That seems limiting.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ebchower

                                                                                                                                                                                                It has never once occurred to me to care if anyone, much less the masses, "accept" my tattoos. I mean, they are there, you have to accept them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                  No, I don't have to accept them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can choose to avoid you and the establishment where you work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  And you have to accept that choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                    With pleasure! I wish more people didn't "accept" my tattoo to this bizarre extent on the subway or at the beach so I'd have some more personal space.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                      At the beach? I truly don't care one way or the other, assuming that the tattoo isn't repulsive (graphic wounds, epithets, racial/cultural slurs, etc)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Don't get me wrong -- I am absolutely NOT anti-tattoo. I've seen some really beautiful works of art and admire the pain tolerance and budget of the wearer as much as I admire the talent of the artist. One of the most amazing I've ever seen was only visible at the beach -- a gorgeous multi-colored dragon with the head at the lady's waist, with the body curling around her leg and the tail wrapped around her ankle...a really remarkable work of art.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      At the beach, we're all there to relax, and it's all cool.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      But I wouldn't wear my bathing suit and flipflops to work because it's not the cultural norm...and tattoos have to fall under the same set of rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for your clarification. I disagree with you and don't understand the disdain for them nor find them "unprofessional", but accept that others do. I'm glad I've never worked at a job where it was an issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. To the OP: I'm not mad about tattoos but it's more a not-for-me thing than an I-don't-want-to-look-at-them thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                              What I don't get is how they can force her to resign. Fire her, yes, their call in an at-will situation. Granted I know nothing about labour laws in Michigan (or in the States at large for that matter; I am Canadian) but it seems to me that Starbucks could fire her if she refuses to remove the tat (regardless of how it all unfolded, her heart is in contravention of a company policy, however silly that policy may appear to some). What I don't understand is how anyone can be "forced" to resign. I've seen situations where higher ups have deliberately made the work environment so nasty for an employee that they've driven the individual to leave but this isn't the same thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                                                                                                They can't force anyone to resign, but it's their default position for a few reasons. Primarily it's to protect their legal position; but it serves them both internally and externally with respect to employee, customer, and public perception.

                                                                                                                                                                                                "Oh, what happened to Bridget?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                "She resigned."

                                                                                                                                                                                                If, as others in this position have done, this barista refuses to remove her tattoo and refuses to resign, it's likely Starbucks will fire her for violation of company policy.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Starbucks has every right to not hire anyone with visible tats.
                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't really care, although...tats down the fingers skeeve me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry to offend anyone- it's just unsightly to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Then the woman should not have been hired in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Then the woman should not have been hired in the first place."

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think that is going to be the bigger issue here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The worker was hired by a manager, employed by the company...even though said worker may not have met company guidelines. Worker was employed for several years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Going to be a bumpy ride employer/employee law-wise!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think Starbucks would do best by "grandfathering" her in.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      SB could be asking for a lawsuit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                        thus far, everyone seems to believe that the tattoo policy was in place before she was hired, making it impossible to grandfather her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is going to be a shitstorm in all likelihood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                          <This is going to be a shitstorm in all likelihood.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Why? As far as I know this is not the first time someone got fired from Starbucks for tattoo.


                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                            but not after 5 years of employment -- how did that case turn out?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                              That was 02/2010.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              What was the resolution of the case?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                              what is the saying " closing the barn door after the horse"
                                                                                                                                                                                                              soooo did she become employed under false circumstance?She said she had been covering it up with make-up and she had when hired...but it never says..if they knew and approved of the covering with make up...Or as someone up thread mentioned the makeup just didnt cut it with the hand washing ..a little tattoo or a big one it still is visible and is against the policy which was gone over with her during the interview.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Of course- that should have been vetted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Somewhere, that I cannot find now, I picked up the idea that there was a new District Manager who was generally reviewing his/her stores, and thus the broken policy became apparent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                                                                                                                                                          and new district manager looking to make his/her mark in the hierarchy, etc., etc., etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          makes a little more sense now...but it's still not going to end well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. It's the 21st century.... unless the tattoo says 'F* You' or something similar, I have no objections to it. Seeing tattoo/s on the wait staff is certainly not going to prevent me from buying a drink or walking into a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I fully support the right of a company to control the appearance of it's employees. If an employee does not like the rules, then go else where for employment!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: subal

                                                                                                                                                                                                              That is.....a really disturbing statement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Really? Is a company not entitled to protect their image? Waiters are commonly required to wear a specific uniform. Many companies forbid denim. You find this disturbing? I'm not sure why.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DuffyH, I owned a catering business for years and provided uniforms for my waitstaff. One young waitress told me that I was violating her right to free expression by requiring her to wear the provided black skirt and white blouse. Furthermore, she decided to dye her hair a bright green just prior to a very conservative fiftieth wedding anniversary party we had scheduled. We parted company over these issues. My attorney assured me that I did have the right to protect my company image and a lawsuit would be a non-starter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I honestly think these things are not as black and white as many people think. Some of the cases are very extremely, but many are in between and make them difficult to judge from a moral ground.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I always thought the French of banning the head scraf went too far.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      not when you consider that they also banned the wearing of crosses and Stars of David and even then, only in the schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Many, many French women wear a head scarf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        <Many, many French women wear a head scarf.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry, I meant banning head scarf in schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. The baristas at my local Starbucks are definitely NOT free of visible tattoos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Keep it under your hat. Their District Manager may find out. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Absurd policy. Tattoos are mainstream, people. Time to get over it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not everyone finds YOU attractive, either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                49 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My mind is boggled that there are so many people offended by another's tattoo to the point that it would make them lose their appetite and not frequent a place as a result. I mean, this is Starbucks so no big loss but some of the best chefs in the industry have big tattoos (just watch Top Chef, Top Chef Masters). I can't imagine denying myself some of those meals based on antiquated thought. "I really like Volt but Bryan Voltaggio has tattoos so I boycott the restaurant." Yikes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, it boggles the mind. But people are offended by so many things these days, it's almost like a new pastime.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, they used to be called old biddies, but now anyone with a keyboard can complain anonymously, what do we call 'em?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There have always been plenty of of things that offended an awful lot of people, for various reasons, many of them valid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The difference is that conformity was a more exalted goal, with self-expression reserved for artists, poets and other wastrels. The "me" generation, with help from their hippy-dippy parents (I'm looking at me) pretty much took care of that little issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Of course, teenagers and young adults have always managed to conform to each other while shouting their nonconformity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You talk about self expression like it's a bad thing. Of course, conforming while trying to is not just a teen/ young adult thing I see many/most parents do that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You can express yourself all that you want to...but when you are on my dime and projecting my companies image you will project what I want you to project.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You are free to start your own business and project that business any way you want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The idea that tattoos intrinsically "project" anything is really weird. I guess some people don't like to change with the times...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  do you really think a wealth management specialist at an investment bank who has an AC/DC neck tat and "Dirty Deeds" tattooed on his knuckles is going to really have that great of a portfolio, or a large customer account list?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  An older, upscale clientele really isn't going to be overly sympathetic to the argument that he was just expressing himself in his youth, nor particularly likely to trust him with their investments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (I realize that this is a pretty exaggerated example...but I'm sure you understand the underlying concept -- like my earlier comment somewhere else -- you bait the hook with bait targeted to what you're fishing for)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (I think we all agree that our tatted-up banker probably doesn't even actually exist....)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It wouldn't automatically occur to me that he wouldn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <The idea that tattoos intrinsically "project" anything is really weird>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I find the notion that tattoos don't project anything weird. Do you know a single person who decided to get a tat for no particular reason, and didn't really care what was depicted?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Some get them just to be fashionable, or because all their friends have them, I'll grant you that. But that itself projects something, saying "I'm part of your tribe."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tattoos themselves often have meaning. I am more speaking to the blanket statement that having a tattoo--an tattoo-says something about you as a person (and apparently, it isn't good!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, got it. Yes, that goes back to what I wrote earlier about the history of them and who sported them. They may eventually become widely accepted, but it's just as likely they'll be a passing fad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Consider the odds that children of tatted parents may decide to rebel by NOT getting inked. I'd say it's a coin toss what the next generation will do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But right now, for better or worse (and that's a matter of personal taste), western society prefers to see skin. 100 years ago, showing skin was frowned upon. Expecting change overnight is unrealistic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        <Do you know a single person who decided to get a tat for no particular reason>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sometime you are forced to have a tattoo.....etc.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (this is a joke).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You find it weird that tattoos project anything? Then you are living in a dream world. And no, I don't like this "change" of the times. I think people are permanently disfiguring themselves due to a different message of conformity received from various media. In other words, it's still "The cool people...." do this, except it's getting tattooed instead of listening to Elvis, or doing cocaine or growing your hair. The idea that I have to like this development of popular culture or I "don't like to change" is fallacious and frankly insulting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And where you see "disfigurement", others see "decoration".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I can see you certainly have disdain for people who make personal decisions about their bodies that don't affect you, but there's no universal projection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A persons tattoos certainly say something about them. It tells the world about their interests, their hobbies, their motivations, etc...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For instance, my tattoos tell the world that I am a Christian husband and father. My other tattoos tell the world that I listened to way too much Sublime in my youth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also free to unionize and demand a change to company policy using the leverage of collective bargaining.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Unionization offers nothing to Starbucks employees that they aren't already getting. Just less money in their paychecks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hi chowser,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not at all. Self-expression is a wonderful thing, and I encourage it's practice. I do not, however, encourage it's practice at all times and in all places. I think shouting "Satan rules!" during High Mass in a Catholic church is a bad thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        When it comes to the work environment, jpc8015 has stated my views perfectly. I understand that some people have a different opinion and think they should be allowed full freedom of expression at all times, even in the workplace. They are wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "I do not, however, encourage it's practice at all times and in all places. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          " I understand that some people have a different opinion and think they should be allowed full freedom of expression at all times, even in the workplace. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't recall anyone saying either of these. Having a tattoo that commemorates a special event/person is a far cry from shouting "Satan rules" during High Mass, imo. I dislocated my ring finger and can no longer wear my wedding rings. It's crossed my mind that getting a tattoo there would be better for my lifestyle (being active) than wearing my rings. If anyone is offended by that, or thinks it's the equivalent of shouting during High Mass, then they're the ones w/ the problem. Right now I'm going the ringless route and will probably continue to do so. That probably offends people, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You're right. A modest tattoo on your finger to represent your marriage probably wouldn't offend anybody. But...it would be a problem when some idiot decides to get FUCK tattooed across his forehead and the company wants to let him go. This yahoo will immediately point out that the policy is not being enforced evenly and use your hand tattoo as an example of targeted enforcement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jpc8015


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And big companies who are already weary of paying for attorneys to defend them against whatever hare-brained offense someone has decided to sue them for today, simply don't want to leave themselves open to one more lawsuit if they can possibly avoid it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And I totally get that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sure, it would be like outlawing all jewelry because someone might get a FUCK or swastika necklace; or tie or any other piece of clothing. Should we outlaw scarves, too? I prefer to use common sense. Sure there will be shades of gray. But we don't get rid of our Constitution just because we need our courts to help decide on some matters.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You don't have a constitutional right to work at Starbucks with visible tattoos. You have the right to not be discriminated against based on certain conditions; tattoos is not one of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have learned over the years while trying to manage people that there is no such thing as common sense. You have to manage to the lowest common denominator. This is especially true in giant corporations like Starbucks. If you let one wedding ring tat slide, then where do you draw the line?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <I have learned over the years while trying to manage people that there is no such thing as common sense.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A very good point. I think there are extreme cases, which all of us can easily identify and agree. However, many cases are gray, and all of us will come down differently based on our "common sense" -- e.g.: not common at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just look at all the responses here. This alone will tell you that our "common sense" are very different.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Example please. I asked earlier in the thread for a single documented example of this someone winning a lawsuit on this basis. So far, none have surfaced. Existing employment laws are relatively clear that it is perfectly legal to fire an employee for an offensive act or gesture without a broad workplace policy already in place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Much like your claim that unionization offers no benefits to employees, repeating a simple argument doesn't make it true.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What exactly are you looking for an example of?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Someone winning a lawsuit on the basis that their (offensive) tattoo was punished while their coworker's (inoffensive) tattoo was allowed. The law already allows employers to use their judgment in these matters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not about to spend my time souring the internet looking for a case study on something this narrow. There are thousands of cases where employers have been sued because of uneven enforcement of company policy. If you are unable to see the parallels that is your problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Your example of someone tattooing 'FUCK' across his forehead would have no legal recourse in the event he was fired even if there was no pre-existing policy about tattoos in place. No court would find him a victim of discrimination. It's a non-argument. You don't have to bother scouring the internet. You won't find any examples of that kind of blatantly offensive behavior protected in the workplace without a lot of extenuating circumstances.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Now, admittedly, these policies are less about protecting a company from outright vulgarity, swastikas, etc, than they are about providing guidelines in much grayer circumstances. But if you'll cede that Mr FUCKface is shit out of luck even in the absence of a tattoo policy, then perhaps it would be more helpful to quit appealing to burning crosses, blazing swastikas, or winged penises and discuss the real intention of the policy and whether that intention is justified.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This kind of blanket policy exists to give a company just a little extra leverage in the event that someone stretches a reasonable policy ('no garish tattoos') just a little too far (an arm tat or two slowly becomes a sleeve, then maybe a couple facial tats). It exists to free an employer from the expense of showing that an employee's actions actually hurt the company. In a somewhat unlikely and purely hypothetical lawsuit. That the employer would most likely win anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You may think this is a fine thing for an employer to do. I think it's a poor reason to fire an employee of five years otherwise in good standing (and whose unobtrusive tattoo surely does not hurt the company) and an equally poor reason to exclude a large part of the population from employment. Throwing your employees under the bus when you have little to gain may be legal and it may be common. But it's far from commendable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            but like "the sky is blue" and "the grass is green" it simply is the way the world works.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I can't recall where I first heard this, but the most apt description of things like this is

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "It's not right, but it's true."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You haven't said anything smart enough to be patronizing people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Okay then smart guy, where would you draw the kine between what is and what is not an appropriate tattoo in a setting where the policy is no visible tattoos?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've mentioned this before - but permanent eyeliner is a tattoo. It's entirely visible and a facial tattoo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    However, it's not necessarily perceived as a tattoo and from a corporate/professional policy standpoint - it's not "distracting". However, if the policy is "no visible tattoos" - someone with a permanent eyeliner tattoo should be fired. And if they're not or the policies don't specify further then someone with another kind of visible tattoo could challenge their dismissal was unfair as there's a "special" group of people also with visible tattoos not being fired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You don't draw lines to salvage bad policy (that's how you wind up with the IRC). You reassess the purpose your trying to accomplish and change the policy. If it's the broadcasting of certain messages that is offensive, they can simply be prohibited (e.g. no obscenities, no political messages, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Anything that can be easily and inconspicuously covered is appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That said, I've been arguing that 'no visible tattoo' policies are dumb for a coffee shop, and also that not enforcing the policy upon hiring or for 5 years afterwards creates an ethical problem when you suddenly decide to fire an employee. I don't really care to split hairs within a policy that I disagree with in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hi chowser,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You're right that having a tattoo is not equivalent to shouting during High Mass. Expecting that tattoo to be accommodated no matter what, that is equivalent. And that's really all I said. I stand by it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have no problem w/ a no tattoo rule. I think Starbucks is playing to their market of plain vanilla inside the box market that wants the exact same experience no matter where they are in the world. I just think it's funny that some think Starbucks is doing it so they don't have to deal off chance w/ someone having a fuck forehead tattoo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's the thing. In all these words, there is still only one, single justification proffered for having the rule in place: "Don't scare the squares" (a/k/a "It's icky").

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              < I just think it's funny that some think Starbucks is doing it so they don't have to deal off chance w/ someone having a fuck forehead tattoo.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think that is just an extreme example. It is actually not a bad argument. It starts with an example which most of us can relate to and possibly agree to. Then it raises the question: Where to draw the line?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cresyd also bought up the opposite good argument. That is: permanent eyeliner. Permanent eyeliner in its pure form is a tattoo. Should a woman with a permanent eyeliner be fired?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think most of us would say no. Again, then where to draw the line?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The truth is that the companies make the call. It is up to them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Many posters throwing extreme examples to make a point. No? Here is something to think about. Would American ever elect a president with a visible tattoo on his/her face (beside the subtle permanent eyeliner)? I think not. You may say what does this has to do with anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My point that many people do care. It would be ignoring the fact to say that average voters/customers do not care.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, Americans likely won't elect an atheist into office, at least in my lifetime..... but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to work for Starbucks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, your example doesn't quite apply here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <Well, Americans likely won't elect an atheist into office, at least in my lifetime..... but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to work for Starbucks.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Being an atheist as a religious decision/expression. Companies cannot discriminate this choice, much like companies cannot discriminate a Hindu from a Christian. Having tattoos or wearing ear rings are not. I don't see how you apply these two examples together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <So, your example doesn't quite apply here.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Many people say that they don't care if the person who serve them coffee have tattoo. I don't care neither as I often go to smaller independent coffee shops with young employees with tattoo and piercing. But that is beside the point. My point is that the average customer/voter care. It would be ignoring the fact otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The question goes further then. Where do you draw the line? Jewlery? Clothing? Hair style? Unless you have military preciseness, you'll always have to make a call. There's always a chance someone can wear obscene jewelry, clothes, make up, etc. Why stop at tattoos? Plastic surgery? It's, as you say, drawing a line if you stop at tattoos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the fact that the starbucks operation continues to be as successful as it has been, would seem to be empirical evidence that a workable "line" can, indeed, be drawn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    fwiw, chowser, this line-drawing issue doesn't seem like rocket science to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "wiw, chowser, this line-drawing issue doesn't seem like rocket science to me."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Exactly. I still am scratching my head that people believe the only reason Starbucks has the rule is so they don't have to figure out what is offensive and what isn't. They might have to prevent all small talk w/ customers in case one might say something offensive and they'd have to litigate what is and isn't offensive.;-p

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Maybe someone looked at it from the wrong angle and thought it was a butt. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: 4X4

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  guy got in trouble at Crarabas for doodling "male body parts " on the brown paper and offending a customer who didnt see it as a nose and eyes and smile

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Funny. And example of we see what we want to see.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: globocity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And maybe the waiter did it just to see if a customer would catch on to what he was really doodling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Did carrabas make a no doodling rule or did they decide to go case by case?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have no idea...LOL maybe they make all waiters draw "tippy" as part of their hiring process now

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. It would be interesting to find out if anyone in corporate, from cubicles to corner offices, have visible ink.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      there are plenty of posts here (many of them mine) saying that they exist in the front office.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But they are definitely in the minority.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have tattoos on both biceps and they are visible when I wear a polo shirt or other short sleeve shirt. I work in local government and it has never been an issue. If it were an issue I would just wear long sleeve shirts to work every day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I worked with a guy who had sleeves on both arms. He was actually extremely self-conscious about them, and tended to wear longsleeved shirts, even though there was no policy for or against.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          At trade shows, he specifically requested that the shirts we wore in the booth be long-sleeved so his tats would be covered. (nothing offensive about them, by the way)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            <At trade shows, he specifically requested that the shirts we wore in the booth be long-sleeved so his tats would be covered>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            He requests YOUR shirts to also have long sleeved, so that he can wear long sleeved to cover his tattoo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't know. This is total discrimination against YOU and your freedom of expression. What if you don't want to wear long sleeved shirt?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tell me this is tongue in cheek.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't know where you've spent your career, but at every place I've ever worked (from startups to Fortune 100) you check your freedom of expression at the front door. Doubly so at trade shows, where everyone wears logo shirts and the same color trousers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I rolled my sleeves up - non issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                <Tell me this is tongue in cheek.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A little bit of that, but a little bit of seriousness too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Your coworkers requested *you* to wear long sleeved shirt because he need *his* tattoo to be covered. You don't think there is something odd about this that he made the whole team wearing something because he has to. (unless I read your statement wrong).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This would be like I ask *you* to shave your hair because *I* have hair lice.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  not even remotely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Everybody has to wear the same shirt. Nobody else cared whether they were long-sleeve or short sleeve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  He didn't MAKE anyone do anything (neither did the boss, for that matter) -- as I stated, he made the request, and nobody had any complaints, so we wore long sleeves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (it's also usually really cold in the exhibit halls, so long sleeves are often more comfortable)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          SB corporate? I am sure there are as the dress code rules is often different in HQ vs customer facing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In our corporate office we just recently went back to business casual and its now 24/7. All denim is now allowed as is casual footwear. You see plenty of piercings and tats. Unfortunately, I see way more skin these days than makes me comfortable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In our retail locations there are pretty strict guidelines on what you can and can't wear including accessories, jewelry, footwear, etc. Its part of the job description and outlined very clearly in the new hire paperwork.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's fascinating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm old(er) and no longer in the workforce.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What you describe is a 180 degree turn to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I remember the day when salaried employees with corporate jobs followed the (unwritten) corporate dress code (shirts with collars, closed-toe shoes etc). It was the hourly-paid employees who might be expected to "not-conform".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Interesting that the shift is to control the (lower-pay) hourly-employees, while the salaried folks are allowed liberties in the dress and grooming department.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm not a sociologist, but clearly this topic makes for interesting study!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              friend of mine worked for a bank years ago, and because much of the work was back-office with very little face-to-face with the public, they went to business casual, with "casual Fridays" (jeans, etc)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We had lunch together fairly often, so I saw the attire fairly often, and heard tales even more so -- it was truly amazing what college-educated bankers believed was "business casual" or what full-on casual actually meant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They ended up writing very detailed guidelines after they had to send a senior loan officer home because the officer showed up wearing cutoffs and rubber flipflops and didn't understand why this was not okay for a bank.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "They ended up writing very detailed guidelines after they had to send a senior loan officer home because the officer showed up wearing cutoffs and rubber flipflops and didn't understand why this was not okay for a bank."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ...and this is why large companies have unambiguous policies that speak to the lowest common denominator. There is always some asshole in the group who will push the boundaries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jpc8015


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The older I get, the more amazed I am -- as soon as I think I've discovered the lowest common denominator, some idiot shows up and digs a little lower.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And this wasn't a judgment call -- this person was dressed like a complete slob -- even my cruddy yardwork clothes with paint stains all over them look better than what this twit decided to show up wearing at work. (even the rubber flipflops were in bad shape)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Some people just have no upbringing.