There are several different ways you can get fired from Starbucks, according to Business Insider—organizing a union, selling leftover coffee on eBay, not letting your customers surf the Internet for "adult content"—or just having a tattoo. A 27-year-old Michigan barista identified simply as Kayla tells Fox 2 Detroit that she had a tiny heart tattoo on her hand when she started work at Starbucks five years ago. She claims that no one brought it up during her interview or afterward, and she doesn’t remember the policy being mentioned. But now she says Starbucks management has given her 30 days to get rid of it or she’ll be fired.
The Starbucks rule has apparently always been on the books, if not strictly or consistently enforced. And Kayla says she masks the heart tattoo (which is the size of a penny that can be subtly covered up by her thumb) with makeup that she leaves at work. Starbucks seems unmoved by her concealment efforts in a statement sent to Fox 2 Detroit that says, “Our tattoo policy states that [employees] cannot have visible tattoos. This is part of our dress code policy and is discussed with our candidates during the interview process." Kayla doesn’t understand why they’re making such a big deal out of her ink, especially because she’s a conscientious employee who is vocal in telling others that Starbucks is "an awesome place to work." "It’s a little heart," she says. "It’s not offensive to anybody." (Another recent Starbucks scandal? A "666" design in a customer's coffee foam.)