Starbucks Baristas: Let Us Show Our Tattoos!

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Walk into many cafes and you'll find people behind the counter in funky dress and adorned with tattoos. Head to a Starbucks, though, and the baristas wear button-down shirts, often with long sleeves rolled down. There's a good chance that skin art lives under the cloth.

The Starbucks dress code has always included a no ink policy. But some employees have mounted a popular campaign to let their tats show and Starbucks is giving the matter serious consideration, according to what the company told AOL Jobs.

Kristie Williams, a Starbucks barista, started a petition about open tattoos on the site Coworker.org, which lets employees gain support to request changes in their workplaces. The petition has gained more than 22,000 signatures so far.

Williams wrote that "tattoos are a simple form of self-expression" and that workers should not be forced to cover them "as long as they aren't offensive or explicit." Aside from issues of self-expression, there are practical reasons to lift the ban, according to Williams.

I can't tell you how many times I have pumped a syrup of some type DOWN MY SHIRT SLEEVE on accident... Long sleeves GET IN THE WAY!!! We work HARD to keep creating inspired moments in our customers day. We want to be comfortable!! Especially in the hot summer months but working in general in long sleeves is a pain! 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?

Starbucks raised the issue with the question "How do you suggest we strike the right balance between self-expression and professionalism?" on a Facebook page for employees, according to CNNMoney.

A Starbucks barista and real estate agent who asked to remain anonymous told AOL Jobs that although no-tattoo policies have been common, many companies have begun to revisit them. "I think it's just an old policy they haven't looked at in a really long time," she said. "We're just asking them to consider it. We were notified through our management that they're looking into it and we should be hearing something fairly quickly."

According to an email to AOL Jobs from Starbucks representative Zack Hutson, the tattoo policy existed "to present a neat and professional appearance." However, the company wants to "make sure we are as relevant and as innovative as we have been in the past with providing an industry-leading work experience for our partners."

A reconsideration of the dress code and tattoo policy is part of a larger examination that will include compensation, an on-shift food benefit, and recruitment and support of veterans, military spouses, and working students. "We are actively involving partners in the process to ensure the changes we make are as meaningful and relevant to them as possible," Hutson wrote.

The company expects to release more updates "in the weeks to come."
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