HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

Discussion

"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.

http://eater.com/archives/2014/07/18/...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  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."

            http://www.starbucks.com/about-us/com...

            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:

                  http://www.hiredphilippines.com/blog/...

                  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?

                          http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_9-uSugHobaI...

                          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.

                                                        http://www.nwitimes.com/news/opinion/...

                                                        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.