Starbucks may lift workers' visible tattoo

Starbucks is reviewing its strict rule of no visible tattoos for its employees.

Not only is it taking a second look at tattoos, it's going over its entire dress code, says spokesman Zack Hutson. The company expects to announce a dress code update within the next few weeks, he says.

The chain, with 300,000 employees worldwide and about 120,000 in the U.S., is taking "a fresh look at how we create a more meaningful and relevant work experience for our partners," Hutson says in an e-mail. The new dress code would start in the U.S. and go global "as appropriate by market."

The tattoo ban has been the target of a recent online petition on the website Coworker.org. That petition has gained 21,000 signatures — including 12,000 Starbucks employees — since it was started Aug. 20 by Kristie Williams, a Starbucks barista in Atlanta. It also has spawned plenty of social media buzz.

But Hutson says the dress code review began earlier this summer before that petition. In July, a Starbucks barista in Troy, Mich., caused a media stir when she went public after her boss told her that she had to have a small tattoo on her thumb removed. The social media reaction was not to Starbucks' liking.

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