An update of Starbucks policy may allow employees to show off their tattoos, Starbucks Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead announced last week in an internal company email.
Currently, there is a strict rule against visible tattoos for any Starbucks workers.
Company spokesperson Zack Hutson said updates to the dress code, including any regarding tattoos, will likely be announced in the next few weeks.
Employees have argued that the ban on visible tattoos is unnecessary due to changing cultural standards and prevents them from working comfortably, as those with arm tattoos must wear long sleeves to cover them.
A coworker.org petition targeting the ban, started by Starbucks barista Kristie Williams on August 20, has caused a stir on social media.
“It’s time for Starbucks to get with the times and have some tattoo acceptance in the workplace!!” the petition reads.
As of Friday, August 22, 610 people had signed. This is the most of any petition on the site, which was founded to give employees an opportunity to air their grievances and suggest company improvements.
But Hutson said potential revisions to the dress code were in the works before Williams’s petition.
Not only are tattoos becoming more popular in professional settings, developing technology has increased their usefulness beyond body art.
Micro scalp pigmentation, for example, is a process using smaller-than-average needles and careful color matching to simulate realistic hair follicles on those suffering from hair loss.
Tattooing is sometimes even used to give the appearance of, or fill in pigmentation for, the areola in breast reconstruction following a mastectomy.
This isn’t the first time the public has weighed in on the company’s policy.
A Troy, Michigan, employee garnered media attention in July when she expressed frustration at being told she needed to have a small tattoo on her thumb removed. Social media overwhelmingly supported her position.
Starbucks is known for being image-conscious and following its young customer base by taking progressive political stances on everything from gay marriage to carrying guns in stores.