My daughter just lost her first job, and I’m so proud of her.
She had worked for, um, a large international coffee company since her 16th birthday, and after more than five years as a loyal, dependable employee, she was forced to leave. Why? Because of a nose piercing.
The company has a policy — of which my daughter was completely aware — that facial piercings and visible tattoos are not permitted on employees. Piercings are to be removed and tattoos covered.
Let me start by saying that this employer is very good to its employees. My daughter has been able to move her work from Squamish to Nanaimo; she’s been given stock options; her school schedule has been accommodated; and the company has given her a bursary for each year she worked with them and went to university. It’s been a pretty nice gig for a student.
One day, though, my daughter showed up for her shift with a stud in her nose covered by a Band-Aid. Her supervisor said that the piercing had to be removed. My daughter felt that if tattoos can be covered with Band-Aids, so could piercings. Furthermore, she wondered about the legality of her supervisor asking her what the Band-Aid was covering. She refused; her supervisor stood his ground, and she was not permitted to work.
My daughter was faced with one of those moments where one’s mettle is tested. What is the right thing to do? She was feeling some pressure from her supervisor and her workmates, and she needed the job. The easy thing would have been to take out the piercing and get it re-done once she left the company.
She didn’t do the easy thing, though. Instead she contacted head office and pleaded her case; she sought out a lawyer got some advice; and finally, she quit her job.
Whether her decision was the “best” one is not important. I’m pretty sure that it was the “right” one. That she landed on her feet and found a new job in a few days was certainly reassuring for both her and me. But for a parent to see his child take a stand on a matter of principle and not back down is a wonderful thing. It’s nice to know that when they have to, they can take the difficult path and find their way along it on their own.
The piecing may be just a tiny little speck on her nose, but when I see it, it shines bright.