Coffee giant Starbucks has officially lifted their company ban of (most) visible tattoos for employees. While employees are still prohibited from displaying tattoos on the face or throat, those elsewhere on the body are now allowed to see the light of day creating a much more comfortable workplace for employees.
Starbucks hadn’t been in any direct violation of employee rights with their previous tattoo policy. Many companies have a clearly defined dress code and code of conduct in handbooks that covers not only appropriate dress but also things like visible tattoos and piercings. As long as the company policy doesn’t violate an employee’s religious rights or constitute some form of discrimination they are technically free to have employees keep their tattoos under wraps.
Tattoos have been increasing in popularity over the course of the last few years. Recent statistics show that nearly twenty percent of adults in the US have at least one tattoo – so Starbucks new policy could conceivably open the door to a whole new world of potential candidates for employees. This new policy could also bring in additional customers who were put off by the fact that employees had to keep their tattoo art hidden under longs sleeves, long dresses or long pants.
It’s important for companies to convey the right image to their customers. While many people likely consider Starbucks previous tattoo policy as a form of discrimination, it is ultimately up to the owner of a business to determine the image that they want to put forth to their customer base.
If your current dress code or code of conduct has been called into question by an employee, or if you’d like to make a few changes to your existing policy, you should reach out to an experienced legal professional. An experienced California attorney can review your existing company policies to ensure that you are in compliance with local and federal law and to keep your business protected from employee lawsuits.
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