Starbucks reconsiders tat ban
Starbucks is looking for ways to improve working conditions for its baristas without breaking the bank in the process. Among the ideas being considered is allowing customers to add tips for workers on Starbucks’ Android payment app. Another, which seems to have caught the attention of the media, is relaxing the employee dress code, which currently requires workers with body art to keep their tattoos under cover.
Earlier this year, employees of the coffee chain were invited to share their ideas for making Starbucks a better place to work. Hundreds replied to a question about striking a balance between self-expression and professional appearance on the job. Current rules require that workers cover all their tattoos. Piercings, except for up to two in each ear, are not allowed on the job.
In July, Starbucks got some unwanted press when a barista in Michigan said she was in danger of being fired over a heart tattoo on her hand that was smaller than a penny. The woman, who told her story to a local TV station, said she had been hired with the tattoo five years earlier and used makeup to cover it. A manager decided that was not a good enough solution and gave her a choice of either removing the tattoo or losing her job.
Kristie Williams, a Starbucks employee in Georgia, created an online petition on coworker.org to get the company to change its policy. She wrote, "I can’t tell you how many times I have pumped a syrup of some type down my shirt sleeve on accident… Please let us get rid of our sloppy, syrup covered sleeves! We wash our hands to keep them clean, but what about those long sleeves getting frap roasted all summer long?"
More than 22,000 people have signed Ms. Williams’ petition to date. She told The Seattle Times that she was pleased the company is reviewing its policy. "The day I buy my first short-sleeved Starbucks shirt will definitely be a great day," she said.
Rochelle Rabold, a barista supervisor, told USA Today, "Starbucks is an amazing place to work. It would be even more amazing if I didn’t have to cover my tattoos."
- Let Us Have Visibile Tattoos!!! – Coworker.org
- Starbucks may let baristas bare their tattoos – The Seattle Times (tiered sub.)
- Starbucks may lift workers’ visible tattoo ban – USA Today
- Starbucks rethinks no-tattoo policy for baristas – CNNMoney
Would Starbucks’ business be helped or hurt if it allowed employees to display their tattoos? What is your take on tattoos in the workplace?