Get Ready To Show That Ink, Baristas: Starbucks Changes Policy To Allow Some Visible Tattoos

Things are about to get a bit more graphic behind the Starbucks counter. And by graphic we mean in the illustrated sense, now that the coffee company has revised its tattoo policy, allowing employees to show off their ink – albeit with a few caveats.

Starbucks announced on its website today that beginning October 20, its partners (better known as employees) can sport visible tattoos as long as they aren’t offensive and don’t appear on the face or neck.

Starbucks’ revised dress code policy. [Click to enlarge]

“We want customers to focus on you, not your body art,” a new retail dress code guideline handout reads. “Tattoos are allowed, but not on your face or throat. Treat tattoos as you treat speech – you can’t swear, make hateful comments or lewd jokes in the workplace, neither can your tattoos.”

While the previous dress code policy didn’t exactly forbid employees from having tattoos, they were required to keep them covered up while working.

In addition to allowing some visible tattoos, Starbucks also announced that colored ties and neck scarves and black denim would now be allowed.

The official change comes less than a month after Starbucks Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead sent an internal e-mail saying the company would revisit its “dress code, including the tattoo policy.”

Talk of a revised dress code and tattoo policy began earlier this year when CEO Howard Schultz launched a campaign seeking feedback from employees on how the company could improve its workers’ careers.

There was also significant discussion online among employees about ways the company could allow tattoos while continuing to project a professional atmosphere.

An online petition on coworker.org gathered more than 25,000 people – 14,000 signatures from Starbucks employees – around the world who believed the company’s policy to cover up tattoos should be revised.

After Thursday’s announcement the Starbucks barista who began the petition tells coworker.org that she was “thrilled that Starbucks listened to feedback from employees like me and has updated its policy.”

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