Starbucks Might Allow Employees To Show Tattoos

In spite of Starbucks’ origins in tattoo-heavy Seattle and the fact that the coffee colossus employs thousands and thousands of younger adults with ink somewhere on their body, the company’s dress code has long been decidedly anti-tattoo. But in an acknowledgment of changed public attitudes toward tattoos, and an effort to retain its workers, Starbucks may be relaxing its stance on body art.

The current rules don’t forbid Starbucks employees from having tattoos; they are just supposed to cover them up when working.

Earlier this year, CEO Howard Schultz launched a campaign seeking feedback from employees on how the company could improve its workers’ careers. And a number of them mentioned that the company could rethink its policy on tattoos.

“I live on Capitol Hill, Seattle. It’s rare to see someone without a tattoo here,” wrote one worker, according to the Seattle Times.

There was also some online discussion among employees about how the company could allow visible tattoos while also maintaining a level of professionalism. For example, would face tattoos be acceptable? What about tattoos that may be gang-related?

Of course, one could argue that having a face tattoo has no impact whatsoever on a person’s ability to make coffee or serve customers. Similarly, there are many people who are no longer associated with gangs, but haven’t been able to get old gang-related tattoos removed or covered.

A recent online petition gathered more than 21,000 signatures from people who believe the policy should be changed, arguing — among other things — that having to wear long sleeves, regardless of the weather or time of year, just to cover up tattoos is a hindrance to job performance at Starbucks.

Without committing to any changes, Starbucks Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead sent an internal e-mail last week announcing that the company is revisiting its “dress code, including the tattoo policy.”

A rep for the company tells the Times that Starbucks is “always actively engaged in discussion with our partners to determine how to make their Starbucks experience better and more valuable to them… We know the dress code and tattoo policy is important to them so we are taking a fresh look at it.”

In addition to the “no visible tattoos” policy, Starbucks has other restrictions on piercings, jewelry and perfume/aftershave for its baristas.

Starbucks may let baristas bare their tattoos []

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