update: coworker complains about my tattoos

Remember the letter-writer whose coworker kept complaining about her tattoos? Here’s the update.

So, the situation with Carol has been resolved. I actually spoke to her the same day you posted my letter; I ran into her in the break room and she started in again. I interrupted her and said, “That’s enough. I have asked you politely and now I’m telling you – stop commenting on my tattoos. They don’t come off, I’m not going to cover them, and they’re not against the rules here. Your obsession with my skin is really weird, and I don’t appreciate it. This is the last conversation I intend to have with you about this.”

She was pretty taken aback that *I* thought *she* was being weird, but i didn’t give her a chance to keep going, I just went back to work. She didn’t speak to (or about) me for the rest of the week. By the next week she had settled on stilted pass-the-salt style conversation, but only if it was a group thing; she still wouldn’t speak to me personally. Since we don’t work on the same projects, this didn’t have any impact on my workflow, so I was ok with chilly silence. It beat the nagging, for sure!

Then we went onsite to do an installation. We were warned that it would be hot and cramped, and to dress in layers we could shed. Of course, the inevitable happened. Carol and I ended up on different teams, and when we met for the mid-morning team swap, most of us were down to a tank top, me included. Carol got one good look and flipped out. She berated me about my lack of professionalism “in someone else’s workplace”, and caused enough of a ruckus that Jane came to see what was going on. Carol went off on Jane about my “continued and blatant” lack of professionalism, but Jane shut her down pretty sharply. The teams were reshuffled as planned, and Carol got put on Jane’s team. Apparently she took that as an invitation to keep going, and asked Jane why she hired me, and then why she tolerated me. (Jane’s answer: “I hired her for her skill, not her skin.” Jane may be my new favorite boss!) Then she accused *Jane* of a lack of professionalism for doing so.

About an hour after the team swap, Joe (the other owner) came in the company car with the HR lady (on her day off!) and took Carol back to the workshop. She apparently stewed all the way back (or read the handwriting on the wall), and when they got back, she got out of the car, declared that she couldn’t continue to work for such an unprofessional organization, that she had her own reputation to look after, even if we didn’t care about ours, got in her car, and left. That was the last we’ve seen of her, although there has been a scathing review posted to Glassdoor since then.

The next day, Jane had individual meetings with all of us, and the day after that a workroom staff meeting. We (myself and the three senior ladies that Carol had gone to to complain) were chastised for letting it go as far as it did without giving Jane a heads up, even if it was a ‘this is a thing but I’m handling it’ warning. The senior most coworker pointed out that none of them really had any power to do anything, and that has now changed. There is now a designated ‘workroom supervisor’, and an end of the week ‘how are things?’ check-in between that person and Jane.

The workroom is a much calmer place now, and interviews for Carol’s replacement start next week. Also, a formal tattoo/piercings/hair color policy is being added to our employee handbook; basically, anything goes as long as it’s safe to have around machinery and not offensive. All in all, it’s been a learning experience – for all of us, I think.

Thanks for your advice – I really appreciated the framework for my response to Carol.

{ 527 comments… read them below }

    1. T. Boone Pickens*

      Yup, came here to say this. Jane sounds pretty terrific. Carol’s Hindenberg-like implosion was simply magnificent.

      1. Hills to Die on*

        It was great! Bye, Felicia! I always love seeing posts about good companies that do the right thing.

        1. Iconic Bloomingdale*

          Carol was inappropriate and ridiculous toward the LW on this issue. I am glad management intervened, which led to Carol’s abrupt departure. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

        1. Jadelyn*

          Right? I’m chuckling at the idea that her delicate reputation might be damaged by – gasp! – merely associating with a coworker who has tattoos. Did she literally clutch her pearls and swoon, do you think?

        2. Anne (with an “e”)*

          I just cannot understand Carol. She just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever to me.

      2. VictorianCowgirl*

        What a hill to die on. Did she not have enough to worry about in life, or too much? Hard to tell sometimes.

    2. I'm that person*

      There are so many letters about bad bosses, it’s nice to see one about a great boss.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      OP and Jane are my new heroes.
      This is one of the most triumphant and happy updates I’ve read. I’m so so happy for OP.

    4. Sleepytime Tea*

      Jane is definitely awesome! Although the fact that they got “chastised” for “letting” it go on so long. I mean yes, them having been aware of what was going on would have been a good thing, but on the other hand Carol didn’t totally flip until they were onsite and OP was in a tank top. Prior to that it was mutterings and the situation overall was smaller. I don’t know that I would have felt like it was the right time to go to HR about the situation until it hit that point, but that’s probably also based on the company you work for a bit.

      1. designbot*

        It’s totally based on the person in question’s view of the company they work for. We all have to do a bit of reading the room to know whether going to our boss to say “Another team member keeps pestering me about my tattoos” will result in that team member getting disciplined, us being told we need to figure out how to handle interpersonal dynamics ourselves, or our boss deciding that actually now that we mentioned it it *would* be better if tattoos were always covered. Until you see an example of how your boss handles things like this, I think my default assumption would be the middle road. I’d hesitate to be too upset that someone read the room wrongly on that one.

      2. Observer*

        On the other hand, Jane did react reasonably to it being pointed out that there really wasn’t a mechanism for letting her know. It’s clear that she realized that things were not quite as bad as what happened on the site. But if she’s been aware that there had been an issue she wouldn’t have been totally blindsided – and at a client site, no less.

        That’s one of the delicious ironies of this story – Carol is complaining that OP is disrespectful “in someone else’s workplace” while kicking up a major ruckus at that very client’s site. Frightening lack of self awareness, though.

        1. EPLawyer*

          I am not sure they were really chastised either. I can see feeling that way in the moment but if you look back it was probably, I wish you had told me sooner so I know if I need to step in or not. But as noted, you don’t know your boss, so good for her letting them know that REALLY this is something to bother me with.

          Carol on the other hand needs to figure out what professionalism really means darn quick. Berating a co-worker – not professional. Quitting in a huff because the boss is not going along with you berating a co-worker — not professional. Doing your job to the best of your availability despite a co-worker berating you — professional. Being supportive of your employees and shutting down a berating co-worker – professional.

          1. Grey Coder*

            I read the update and kept thinking, “Carol, you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

        2. sacados*

          Yeah, the “chastised” comment seems a bit strong, though it’s possible that’s just a matter of OP’s word choice.
          But I think the fact that it led to some needed and effective changes to the official workplace policies and hierarchy is a really good thing. Speaks volumes to the fact that Jane is likely a boss who values opinions/constructive criticism from her employees and is proactive about managing problems when she hears about them!

          1. Kate the Great*

            I interpret “chastised” as meaning Jane asked, “Why did you let this go on so long?”

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      A rage-quit over *someone else* being tolerated?
      To mix insect metaphors wildly….my spidey senses are tingling and I would love to be a fly on the wall when Carol’s next interviewer asks “Why did you leave your last job?”

      1. Edwina*

        Carol goes into a whole “they let this person with TATTOOS just BE there, and when I complained to my supervisors over and over they didn’t DO anything, and when I complained to the BOSS while at a work site, no matter HOW much and HOW loudly I complained, she just had the OTHER boss come over and HR came on their day OFF, and STILL didn’t listen when I explained that TATTOOS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED! Offensive!!!” while they stare uncomfortably and edge slowly away from her

        1. VictorianCowgirl*

          “just BE there”
          This gave me a laugh, I can totally picture and hear the whole thing.

        2. Jadelyn*

          Bonus points if the interviewer stares right at her, holding an uncomfortable intensity of eye contact while slowly rolling up their sleeves/taking off their cardigan/whatever to reveal their own tattoos. Just…let that sticky awkwardness fill the room.

          1. Jen S. 2.0*

            This is GOLD. This visual is priceless!

            I just have no idea what Carol expected LW to DO about her tattoos. Tattoos do nothing for me, and I don’t really get their appeal, but once they’re there, they’re there. If you don’t have to cover them at work, then … ? Especially since Carol’s objection seemed to be to their existence on the LW’s body at all, as well as their visibility at work.

            1. AKchic*

              Carol expects the offenders to cover up their “unsightly” and “tainted” skin at all times, of course. What you do in the privacy of your own home is of no concern to her (just keep it to yourself, obviously!), but don’t flaunt it in public like it’s okay with good, decent, tax-paying folk, doncha know!
              My own grandmother was like this. Tattoos were the debbil! Evil, sinful, wanton things. My memorial tattoo honoring my grandfather was horrid. Never was I to show it off or mention it (it was his favorite flowers). Then my cousin (male, who she swears looks identical to my grandfather) showed off his tattoo and his were just fine. I do not cover any of mine up for her. If they show, they show.

              1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

                I’m not sure Carol would have been happy with them being covered up, even. Their mere existence seemed so offensive to her I don’t think she’d be happy as long as the OP was there.

                1. aa*

                  Indeed. I tend to think that for her the only solution would have been flaying the OP. Preferably on the public square.

            2. General Ginger*

              I think I commented on the original post, but imho, Carol just wanted OP to feel like crap about it every time. I’m sure Carol knows OP couldn’t change the tattoos, and didn’t expect OP to actually do anything else — just listen to how awful Carol thought OP was being.

          2. WillowWeep*

            Oh, I am choking with laughter. I have some hidden ink and will have to rememeber that technique.

        3. Impy*

          I.e. every type of bigoted person ever. “That other person who was different to me was existing therefore they were obviously a violent offender / a threat / excluding me / scruffy / unprofessional / delete as applicable”

        4. Hello! Hello!*

          Since this is the hill that Carol wishes to die on, I can only hope she’s able to screen her next job more carefully. Right or wrong, Carol feels strongly about this issue, and I hope she follows Alison’s sage advice of self-selecting out if the next job doesn’t meet her professional standards.

      2. HappySnoopy*

        “Because they were allowing unprofessional behavior in a client’s workplace.”
        “That sounds serious. What was it?”
        “They allowed people with tatoos to work there, and the tattoos…were visible!”
        “O…kay.” [interviewer scratches Carols name off hire list]

      3. Not So NewReader*

        “My coworker would not peel off her tattoos to appease me and my bosses would not peel the tattoos off her either. So I quit on the spot because professionalism is super important to me.”

      4. D'Arcy*

        People do this sort of “how dare you tolerate this person doing something I disapprove of!” flip out over trans employees and clients all the time. There’s literally a current lawsuit against a public gym chain for *failing to be* transphobic.

    6. Hrovitnir*

      Hell. Yes. OP is so cool, I’m super impressed – she’d been pretty bloody clear even by the first letter, so following it up from Alison’s advice so clearly and firmly was so satisfying to read. And she was actually backed up by competent managers! Who listen to feedback about systems! Incredible, I’m so happy.

  1. Fibchopkin*

    This is such a satisfying update! No idea where Carol thinks she’s going to find a workshop that is completely tattoo free, but I’m so happy for you that she’s off looking for it rather than making you uncomfortable with all of her snide commentary.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        That was my favorite part. Like seriously, how unaware and misguided are you, Carol?

        1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          The best part was she was having a rant about professionalism in the most unprofessional manner and then rage quit. Someone in this situation was being unprofessional…..

      2. Traffic_Spiral*

        Can you imagine being the boss who didn’t know that this was a thing that was going on, and you’re just going about your day, doing an installation, when all of a sudden one of your employees flips the fuck out for some reason? She’s just yelling about unprofessionalism, and you’re like “oh shit, what happened,” and then you realize she’s freaking out because a coworker has tattoos?

        And you’re just like “?????????”

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Right? I mean if you found the ultra conservative or a religions based organization, maybe? Depending on the region, possibly not.

      1. annakarina1*

        And even then, a conservative place that has workers/members who are former military may have tattoos from their service, so it isn’t just a “liberal sinner” thing, in Carol’s eyes.

        1. Jamey*

          Brainstorming the kinds of organizations that may not allow tattoos isnt really a stereotype. It’s pretty much the same as Alison saying something like “some conservative offices may be stricter about dress code than others.”

        2. Impy*

          I read ‘conservative’ as suits, pumps and discreet jewellery, not in the political way.

        3. Zombeyonce*

          I think it’s a perfectly acceptable distinction. Some religions forbid tattoos so, for example, I wouldn’t expect to see sleeves on the staff at an orthodox synagogue.

          1. Dove*

            “for example, I wouldn’t expect to see sleeves on the staff at an orthodox synagogue”
            Actually, afaik*, the Torah doesn’t actually forbid tattoos. It’s a cultural prohibition that formed in the wake of the Holocaust, due to trauma from survivors having tattoos that had been forced on them.

            (*entirely possible I’m wrong! But I don’t recall seeing any prohibitions against tattoos or piercings in the sections that were listing stuff that’s prohibited, and I do remember being surprised that such a prohibition wasn’t listed since I had always been told that it wasn’t allowed for us to get tattoos.)

            1. EvaM*

              According to a friend who has studied this a bit, it *is* based on the Torah, although in a way which has varied interpretations [Leviticus 19:28 “You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am the Lord”]. She says that “it’s definitely been further complicated by the Holocaust but it is rooted in legitimate law,” and also that “the forbidding of someone with a tattoo to be buried in a Jewish cemetery is wrong. That’s rooted in pure threat.”

            2. vampire physicist*

              It’s prohibited per the Torah and rabbinic law, as EvaM said, but they are also correct that if someone has tattoos it’s no different than breaking any other prohibition and the tattooed person is welcome to be buried in a Jewish cemetary.
              FWIW I grew up Modern Orthodox and still attend orthodox services sometimes, and I’ve met no shortage of people who converted or became more religious in adulthood and had full sleeve tattoos. At most synagogues no one cares unless the tattoos are something graphically violent (which, let’s be real, would be a bit of a shock anywhere). If someone had Carol’s reaction at shul to someone who was being respectful, most people I know would tell them to get over it.

        4. JSPA*

          There are religions that ban tattoos. Presumably the people who are not only members but actually working at the organization are more likely to follow those rules thoroughly. Hard to see how that’s stereotypical, rather than a combination of theological knowledge, observation and logic.

      2. Dahlia*

        Yeah, the thrift store I work for is religion based (not SA or anything) and our dress code is just “look nice”.

        1. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before*

          I worked at the Salvation Army with fully visible forearm and wrist tattoos, way back in the mid 90s even!

    2. NerdyLibraryClerk*

      Yeah, I’ve got some bad news for Carol about modern workplaces in general.

      (Maybe I just live in a fairly tattoo friendly area, but I see tattoos even in traditionally more conservative workplaces, like healthcare facilities and banks.)

      1. Anax*

        To be veeeery generous – perhaps Carol comes from a culture in which tattoos are much more taboo than they are in LW’s area?

        I know that in Japan, for instance, tattoos are still considered very inappropriate to show in public; they’re associated with organized crime and considered unhygienic (seriously). A lot of places like swimming pools, gyms, and beaches won’t allow entry to anyone with visible tattoos, or require them to be covered at all times.

        That might explain the weird ferocity of Carol’s feelings, though obviously, it doesn’t make her behavior professional or reasonable here.

        1. LaurenB*

          Of course, if Carol had been Japanese and/or the workplace was in Japan, that would have been mentioned in the letter.

        2. OhNo*

          Even if it was a cultural thing, those culture norms are pretty context-dependent. Like, I went to Japan last year with some heavily tattooed friends, and attitudes were overall accepting towards their tattoos. One of them even got complimented by a businessman on a particularly complex design, which was unexpected. Locals recognized that we were foreigners, and so we got more leeway for running up against cultural taboos because they didn’t expect us to fit the mold.

          So it might be a cultural thing, but clearly Carol was lacking the ability to read the room and recognize that not everyone’s going to follow her cultural norms. I’m amazed she kept at it after the OP called her out the first time, because most reasonable people would’ve taken that as a big hint that their cultural expectations are out of sync.

          1. tinyhipsterboy*

            From what I know, attitudes in Japan are changing, but like you said, you definitely benefited from being tourists there; the reaction to a lot of things tourists do/are/seem like that isn’t in line with Japanese society tends to be more “eh, they’re not one of us” rather than something harsher. (Like, queer people are seen more as a foreign thing or celebrity thing, though that’s changing for sure; the same goes with tattoos or being clueless of norms like “itadakimasu” before eating. It’s different if it’s rudeness and such lol.)

            That’s neither here nor there, though–it’s one thing to not quite fit the culture of a new workplace, but to the point where you quit because you think simply showing tattoos is unprofessional? That’s… bizarre, we’ll go with bizarre. I feel like most people can flex their expectations/cultural norms a little bit for a workplace (don’t chase after thieves in retail; bring up politics less than your previous workplace may have; it’s ok to curse more in some jobs than others), but this one was astounding.

            1. Julia*

              That is true. And still, as someone living in Japan, I can’t imagine a Japanese employee to completely flip out over a tattoo and go off on their boss.

          2. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before*

            Also, I used to buy a lot of Japanese fashion magazines (when I sold vintage at the flea market, a lot of my customers were buyers from Japan, and it helped me know what to look out for. Also, they are just very fun to look at!)
            Plenty of younger, fashion conscious Japanese people are tattooed, from what could tell (lots of candid street fashion pics.) And many of my Byers were tattooed as well. So even over there, it is starting to lose it’s stigma.

        3. Working Mom Having It All*

          Even in Japan, this is less true. I have a visible tattoo and got no reaction to it whatsoever when I was traveling there a couple years ago. I have another, more prominent tattoo that would be visible in a bathing suit or at a spa, and while I was prepared to be turned away at the rural onsen I visited, nobody said a thing to me about it. There were also no signs posted anywhere informing Western tourist patrons of a no tattoo policy, or anything like that.

          My guess is that this is probably more accepted when it’s a gaijin tourist, and that there’s probably still a taboo about it if you are Japanese. But even so most likely that same acceptance would be in place if we were talking about a Japanese immigrant working in the US. Not to mention that everything about Carol’s behavior screams DEFINITELY NOT FROM JAPANESE CULTURE. I’d be shocked, literally speechless shocked, to hear an update that, yeah, Carol is Japanese and just moved to the US a few months ago. Because… berating your boss for not being professional enough just before flouncing out of the workplace with a “ur all a bunch of sloppy losers” is… not Japanese.

          (Japanese-Americans, IME, don’t seem to have any hangups about tattoos.)

          1. Anax*

            Not saying she’s Japanese – just saying that a cultural element might be a partial explanation for her ire. It doesn’t read to me as 100% bizarre personal idiosyncracy, because she expects to be backed up by “the powers that be”, which suggests to me that she might come from a setting in which her views are normative.

            (I would bet on ‘fringe evangelical sect’ over ‘foreign immigrant’, but there’s obviously not enough data to know.)

            She’s also clearly failing to read the room and being a huge jerk, in addition to whatever cultural thing she may or may not have going on.

            1. Observer*

              I would bet on ‘fringe evangelical sect’ over ‘foreign immigrant’, but there’s obviously not enough data to know

              Nope. She’s not a child, nor is this her first day in the workplace.

              Besides, the sects you are talking about would be pretty horrified at working in tank and shorts, too. But somehow that doesn’t seem to have flipped her out.

          2. HerGirlFriday*

            Japanese-Americans definitely don’t. My in-laws are J-A and most of them have tattoos. My spouse is covered.

        4. CmdrShepard4ever*

          Even if Carol ( I don’t think she is) had been born in Japan and recently come over to the US and started working the cultural differences does not excuse her continued harassment. Someone’s cultural taboo’s could explain/excuse initially bringing up something, but not the repeated harassment.

        5. Lemmy Caution*

          Naah, I come from a very culturally conservative country / generation where tattoos were prison tattoos (imagine Russia) or then sailors. The younger generation is way more liberal. I worked on cruise ships and basically you couldn’t have tattoos that showed, so the v-neck t-shirt was minimum but anything fitting under the wifebeater (or what is the pc term for it?) was safe. But it is also very country and area-specific. I had a culture shock seeing a security guard in UK having a visible neck tattoo, and in UK tattoos were not much nothing to bag an eye for, so I quickly readjusted my attitude. Maybe I’ll get my ship done on my chest now that I dare…

        6. Observer*

          I don’t think it explains anything.

          I’m an Orthodox Jew (of the “ultra”, Chassidic variety). In Judaism, tattoos are actually prohibited, and a visible tattoo would be a total non-starter for anyone who wanted to stay within the community for any reason. But I still can’t wrap my head around her attitude. Nor her apparent total failure to understand how the world works.

          By the time you’re 50, you should know the difference between “workplace / professional norms” and “religious / social / moral / personal” norms. And you should also know the difference between “office with dress code” scenarios and “shop” scenarios.

          1. Fed*

            For non-Chasidic, it has actually been debated recently and more Reform and Conservative Jews are getting tattoos. Walking the beaches in Tel Aviv I was surprised at the number of Judaica tattoos I saw. I then did a little research on why some feel it is not prohibited. (not trying to debate this, just information)

            1. Observer*

              Just to be clear – there is no one in the actual Orthodox world who accepts tattoos as permitted. I cannot speak for Conservative or Reform.

            2. Mel*

              I’m a conservative Jew, and I actually waited a long time before finally getting a memorial tattoo for my mother. It wasn’t until I got confirmation that I could be buried in a Jewish cemetery (although sounds like not an orthodox one). My tattoo has Hebrew in it, which is slowly becoming more common as more liberal Jews feel comfortable being tattooed.

          2. Dove*

            ” In Judaism, tattoos are actually prohibited, and a visible tattoo would be a total non-starter for anyone who wanted to stay within the community for any reason.”

            Ehh – I’ve read the Torah and I wasn’t able to find any specific prohibition against tattoos. You’re right that it’s a *cultural* prohibition, though – I was always told growing up that we aren’t allowed to get tattoos and that it’d mean we can’t be buried properly. I suspect that it’s a prohibition that formed in the wake of WWII and the trauma caused by it; I know that South Korea has a similar cultural prohibition, due to generational trauma from the same era.

            1. Student*

              This is definitely where my Jewish mother was coming from with her opinions/judgement against tattoos – the WW2 forced tattoo branding.

              1. Michaela Westen*

                That’s not very fair though is it? People who were forced to get tattoos should not be punished for them by not being buried properly, and whatever the other consequences are.

            2. Observer*

              I’m glad to hear that you read the Torah. The fact that you didn’t find it doesn’t mean that the RELIGIOUS prohibition doesn’t exist. It just means you’re clueless.

              And just as and FYI, having a tattoo per se doesn’t necessarily prohibit Jewish burial. As for claiming that people with numbers from the concentrations camps can’t be properly buried, that’s not only untrue, it’s utterly ridiculous.

              Please stop spreading false and hurtful misinformation!

            3. Holly*

              I think your intentions in this comment was good (and I, as a reform Jew have also been told this urban legend that you cannot get buried in a Jewish cemetery if you have a tattoo) but it comes off that you are trying to say you know more about Observer’s religion and religious community than they do, which really isn’t cool.

        7. Not So NewReader*

          It’s odd that you should mention this, Anax. I remember being told this same thing growing up and it was reinforced in school. I grew up in the 60s in the US. I do think that tattoos are less dangerous for people now than they were back then, there’s a lot more health and safety codes protecting the customer.

          I can’t remember exactly when I formed my own opinion on tattoos, but I am pretty sure it was because of people like Carol who went into total meltdown on the subject. I just did not see a hill to die on. I thought the Carols of the world looked foolish.

        8. JSPA*

          It’s only some two decades since hepatitis and HIV were transmitted through reused ink and reused needles, in the US. Japan is only partially responding to the yakuza aspect; they also have some traditional processes (and underground workshops) that were not so quick to modernize and upgrade to deal with virus transmission.

          IMO, driving tattoo artists further underground is the exact opposite of what you want to do, if you’re trying to deal with the public health issues, though.

          1. Michaela Westen*

            My friends recently opened a tattoo shop and they had to pass multiple inspections and licensing requirements. This is in a big city with good infrastructure.

          2. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before*

            In California, clean shops have been the standard since at LEAST the mid 80s, when I started getting tattooed. Even the little hole in the wall biker shop I went to (from which came many now world famous artists*) did not reuse ink and autoclaved everything after use.

            *Like Corey Miller, who has been on LA ink with Kat Von D. I was tattooed by him in ‘91 when he was merely an apprentice!

        9. EvaM*

          This is probably going wildly off topic, but that was so surprising to me to hear; just last year I went to an exhibit at the art museum of photographs of Japanese traditional tattoo art, often with close to full-body coverage. Are these types of tattoos also subject to the negative associations?

          1. Amili*

            So, bit delayed – but yes, they very often are. The full-body coverage tattoos, especially, are traditionally more commonly found on individuals who are part of the yakuza, or in the spheres in which the yakuza have influence. The folks who choose that sort of tattoo as an art form, with no connection to any yakuza-related-anything, do so often knowing what that means.
            Traditional Japanese tattoo work is incredibly beautiful – though I’m highly biased and think the traditional methods give the tattoos a different look (despite the higher pain levels involved) that I prefer – but it’s still something that was used as a signifier of criminal (or vigilante, or just “nah this is our town now” depending on the era of history) association.

        10. Nanani*

          This is fading even in Japan, especially in the run-up to Tokyo 2020. Lots of public awareness campaigns about how “tattoo =yakuza” isn’t really true anymore, lots of emphasis on welcoming foreign visitors, and so on.

      2. Anon2040*

        I work in investment real estate and several of us have visible tattoos. We cover them when a politician or investor comes in, but other than that no one cares…Literally no one (the bigwig who doesn’t think uggs are appropriate footwear thinks my tattoo is “neat”)

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Same for all my lawyer friends. They’ll cover up for court, client meetings, proceedings with opposing counsel and visits to jails/prisons. But in the office, no one’s upset about a tattoo peeking out when your sleeves are rolled up.

        2. Zephy*

          Well, the bigwig is right about uggs not being appropriate footwear for…I’d say just about all business settings.

      3. DaffyDuck*

        I don’t think tattoos are a liberal/conservative issue anymore. I live in a rural, very “red” area/state where people are proud to be “very conservative”. I can absolutely state the number of tattoos or (one at a time) marriages one has is not at all considered a detriment, even in local healthcare/banking; I’m not sure if it is linked to the lack of availablity of a professional workforce. Anyway, both are very socially common/accepted. I see many more tattoos here than in the upwardly-mobile liberal areas I have lived in, although that may be more of a factor of the general socio-economic status of the area than anything else.

        1. BikeLover*

          My uncle is a 75+ year old catholic priest in a rural/conservative area and he has a tattoo. People need to chill.

          1. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

            My current pastor (Lutheran) is the first pastor I have had since I was in Elementary School (so almost 25 years) who DOESN’T have a tattoo. I will say these guys mostly put the tattoos where they were more discrete, but honestly, as a society we have moved on from tattoos being taboo.

        2. Working Mom Having It All*

          I grew up in a conservative small town, and when I was a kid (in the 80s/90s), it was sort of a class marker. Getting a tattoo would be something a working class/poor/uneducated/low-status person would do, and “nice” people didn’t have them. That has all completely changed, of course. But there’s still a bit of a classist stigma about it.

          1. Bunnies!*

            This was very much the attitude during my upbringing, as well. My mother still does not understand that a.) tattoos are much more commonly accepted now, b.) you can be a successful adult who has a tattoo, and c.) you can also be “ladylike” with a tattoo.

            1. AKchic*

              That is how my grandma is, too. Of course, I have not shaken her beliefs at all because I am not the delicate, refined ideal of femininity that she craves in a female heir to the family dynasty (okay, I can’t even type that without giggling convulsively). I am, however, everything my grandpa could have hoped for in a tomboy of a granddaughter so my grandma can just get over it. The rest of the family can sit on pointy cacti for all they think of me and the illusion of family respectability (there is none).

          2. Elizabeth West*

            Same here. Which is kinda ridiculous, when you consider how much they cost!!!!

            1. Michaela Westen*

              That’s why I don’t have more tattoos. I always have more urgent places to put a few hundred $$.

              1. Jadelyn*

                Same. I’m mostly un-inked because I’m broke. If I had money, you’d have to look hard to find a square inch of unmarked skin.

                1. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before*

                  When I was poor, I’d get them once a year with my tax returns. It was my splurge.
                  I also would go to shops with well known/very reputable artists to get tattooed by the apprentices (less expensive, still high quality work) and used to have a couple tattoo artist friends.

              2. wittyrepartee*

                The question is always “tattoo or plane ticket?” and all but one time I’ve chosen plane tickets.

          3. twig*

            I remember this time….

            When I was getting ready to leave for college in 1995, my dad kept giving me random life-advice lectures. One of these was, “Twig, if you’re ever going to get a tattoo, talk to Pop about it first.”

            Pop was his dad, a Navy vet who had arms full of tattoos that he’d gotten in the 40’s-60’s (not sure exactly when, just in that era) and had to ALWAYS wear long sleeves when he got out of the navy in order to get a job (in the 1970’s). This lecture was delivered in a sort of “please never do this, but if you want to, talk to your grampa about the down-sides.”

          4. Polaris*

            Yeah, my parents definitely had this mindset and were not pleased when I got my first tattoo. They’ve come around since then, but it was definitely a class thing rearing its ugly head.

        3. Librarianne*

          It could also be a visibility issue. Both of my grandfathers had tattoos, but in areas that were normally covered by clothing. One had a rose on his chest–even my dad (his stepson) didn’t know about it until a surprise reveal–while the other had an anchor on his shoulder that you could only see when he wore a tank top to do yardwork.

        4. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

          I agree. My family is a mix of political and social views, and they don’t really correlate with tattoos in that way. If anything the more politically conservative ones have more ink. But it’s not a particularly notable division.

        5. Eliza*

          The kind of institutional conservatism that people are generally talking about when they say “conservative” in this context isn’t really correlated strongly to politics. Teaching, for example, is both a pretty left-wing profession and a very institutionally conservative one.

      4. Director of Alpaca Exams*

        The other day I went to a Citibank branch and my teller was being supervised by an officer with a pretty impressive and complex ear piercing. I was so pleased to see that workplace norm relaxing.

        1. Adalind*

          Yes, definitely! While I was in college (15 years ago-ish) I did a paper on tattoos/piercings in the workplace and at the time was a teller at a bank. Thinking how different it is now even in that time frame is amazing. I wasn’t allowed more than 1 hole in each ear at one job (the bank didn’t like it either) and holy moly about the nose piercing! The office job I have now – I still have all those things (plus tattoos) and no one blinks an eye.

          As for OP – so happy they have a workplace that stands up for them. Even if someone did have a problem, they have no right to harass anyone over it. Especially if there’s no work policy on it!

        1. Jadelyn*

          My mom (50-ish at the time) and I took my great-aunt (in her 70s at the time) to get her first tattoo while she was visiting with us. She saw my mom’s and mine, thought they were beautiful, asked where we’d gotten them done, and then asked if we could take her to our artist to get something done. It was fun, having three generations of the family hanging out together while the eldest generation was getting inked.

      5. Anne (with an “e”)*

        I think I live in a fairly conservative area of the country (small town, Georgia) and I work at a private (although not religious) school. Some of my coworkers have tattoos. My sister has tattoos. My uncles have tattoos (although military). My friends have tattoos. So many *professional* people I know have tattoos. I see tattoos on so many people from all walks of life. Tattoos are as common as pierced ears. I do not understand Carol’s position at all. Does Carol work in the USA? Does Carol have a religious objection? I just cannot wrap my head around Carol’s objection to tattoos. I cannot understand her at all.

    3. Kathleen_A*

      Wow. Just wow. I am not major fan of tattoos, but unless they are on *my* skin, they are not *my* problem, so what is Carol’s friggin’ deal? I work in pretty conservative workplace and even here, there are quite a few tattoos that are visible even with ordinary business-casual attire.

      Carol sounds like a crazy person – and by that, somebody who needs some sort of medication. I don’t know what tattoos symbolize in her mind – evil incarnate? run-amuck Marines? everything that’s wrong with the world today? – but they clearly mean something aside from “a meaningful design that a person elects to wear on their skin.”

      So yes, great update. It’s so nice to hear when sanity and good sense win!

      1. OhNo*

        I do wonder what tattoos meant to her, as well. More specifically, I wonder if her objection was a religious one, or a moral one, or where she got the idea that they are so bad it’s worth quitting over. I suppose we’ll never know, so it will remain a mystery!

      2. Batman*

        I wonder if she really wanted one at some point but was told by authority figures that she couldn’t because she was a woman or some other reason and then she internalized that, but still resents it and now projects that anger onto people with tattoos. Idk, just a possibility.

      3. Kella*

        Hey, I get your meaning, but I really find it disrespectful to explain disrespectful, unreasonable behavior with mental illness, and to use “somebody who needs some sort of medication” in a disdainful or derogatory way. Bullying people about trivial things is not a symptom of mental illness, and people who are mentally ill get bullied quite a lot for being ill and for using medication to manage it.

        It is possible that Carol is not mentally healthy, meaning she could certainly have mental patterns that cause toxicity in herself which she takes out on others, but that’s not the same thing as her brain functioning in a way that is atypical.

        Carol’s behavior to me sounds like some kind of deeply internalized shame about tatoos, so seeing them shown without shame would be very threatening to her and she’s trying to enforce the same shame she learned from someone else being toxic.

        1. Matilda Jefferies*

          Coming in very late, but I’m just here for the upvote to Kella’s comment. And also a gentle pushback on the word “crazy,” which is often used to belittle people who think or behave differently from the mainstream. Carol’s behaviour is extreme, certainly, but that doesn’t mean she’s mentally ill.

        2. Kathleen_A*

          I actually didn’t mean “needs medication “ in a disdainful way. I genuinely mean that I think there’s something really wrong here. Her reaction was so exaggerated and protracted and over the top that it really does sound to me as though she needs some sort of help. You don’t have to believe me, of course.

    4. a good mouse*

      The vibe I got was that tattoos on women were a bigger issue for her than tattoos in general.

        1. Jadelyn*

          Definitely – undertones of “that’s not ladylike” with a hint of “good girls don’t”.

      1. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

        I very, very strongly got the “good girls don’t do things that the boys do” off of Carol in the first letter.
        Course, both of my grandma’s are this was so, maybe I just have a bit more of that upbringing (that I don’t fully agree with).

    5. a*

      >No idea where Carol thinks she’s going to find a workshop that is completely tattoo free,

      I’m not trying to assume things that aren’t there, but I wonder if Carol would’ve been less scandalized by a male coworker with tattoos? Granted her reaction is so disproportionate it’s highly possible she wouldn’t find any tats tolerable, but given that she and OP are the same gender and age I had to wonder if there wasn’t some “People like US don’t do such things” mentality in play.

      1. Kathleen_A*

        The fact that she and the OP are nearly the same age might be a factor as well – maybe not (maybe if the OP was younger, Carol could consider it a Sign of How Horrible Young People are), but that they are the same age could be salt in Carol’s wackiness wound.

        1. RandomU...*

          I don’t think this a case of ‘those wacky kids and their tattoos’. OP said they were in their 50s, so we’re not talking about granny getting her hair set in the beauty parlor gossipping with her friends about the tattoo’d state of the world. We’re talking about someone who would have graduated HS in the 70’s or 80’s. I graduated in the early 90s and seeing tattoos on women doesn’t even register on my ‘huh look at that’ radar.

          1. Kathleen_A*

            The point I was trying to make really isn’t dependent on when Crazy Carol graduated. All I am saying is that it could be – only *could* be – that the fact that the OP and she are the same age might make Carol even less accepting of a tattoo than she would be with someone younger. Of course it might not – who can say? But it’s hard to see how it could make her less, accepting, right? You know, seeing as she’s already behaving like a nutjob on this topic. :-)

            But attitudes toward tattoos have shifted *radically* over the past few years, and yes, when I say “few,” I mean very few. It’s a huge perceptual shift, so if you genuinely think that the attitudes toward tattoos of a typical 1970s grad are the same as those of a typical 1980s grad – much less a 1990s grad – I think you’ll find that you’re underestimating the generational difference here.

            Besides, many people who graduated in the 1970s are “grannies” these days, though presumably they don’t spend much time in beauty parlors. :-)

            Of course there are plenty members of the Class of 1975 and the Class of 1983 who have tattoos, but they are still significantly less common in those populations than they are in those who graduated in the 1990s and later. So I don’t think the fact that they don’t register for you, Random U, can be used as proof that they don’t register for those older populations that you mention. Because trust me, they do. Fortunately most older folks aren’t deranged on the topic – unlike Carol. Who totally is.

            1. RUKiddingMe*

              Graduated in 1980. Definitely old enough to be a granny even though I’m not.

              My younger sister (4 years) is though and she is a little weirded out by women with tattoos even though she has her own.

              Yeah, cognitive dissonance in a lot of areas for her, not just this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

            2. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before*

              I’m 52, graduated in ‘85. I have about a dozen tattoos, multiple piercings (I had 30 in my ears alone until I had to take them out for surgery a few years ago, and many closed up.)
              Got my first tattoo in ‘87 and started my piercings when I was still in high school.

              I can’t count the number of women I know my age and UP with multiple tattoos/piercings.

          2. CatMintCat*

            I’m in my 50s (for one more week!) and finished school in 1974. I don’t love tattoos, and don’t think I’d get one myself, but don’t bat an eyelash at seeing them on somebody else, of any age. I teach in a primary school and more or my colleagues have tatts than don’t. It’s a non issue.

            Carol needs to stay in her own lane and keep her batshittery to herself.

      1. NerdyLibraryClerk*

        And she’s still going to be hard pressed to find a workplace where there are no women with tattoos. At least if wherever she is is anything like where I am.

        1. RUKiddingMe*

          I’d blow her freaking mind. Seriously it would explode and brain matter would be flying everywhere. I come across as completely opposite of someone who would have three tattoos. Go figure…

      2. designbot*

        Or even if she had a problem with men having them, she wouldn’t feel like she had the standing to say something.

    6. pamela voorhees*

      i’m just stuck on the idea that carol did it for her reputation. like she’s going to be interviewing, someone’s going to lean across the desk, look her in the eyes, and solemnly ask, “did your last employer employ people with tattoos?” and when she stumblingly admits yes, the OP did, and no amount of berating made them magically not have them any more, the interviewer will just scream SHAME and chase her out of the office.

      1. Boop*

        Seriously just spit tea across my keyboard. I can totally see that happening…in an SNL sketch.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          My body clock wakes me up at 5:30 every morning and makes me sleepy by 9:30 — and I would SET MY ALARM to see a SNL skit with Alison in it.

          1. pamela voorhees*

            Alison is the Twilight Zone narrator who walks us through all of the sketches/stories/etc. each week.

      2. Jadelyn*

        I’m so glad my officemate left early today so I didn’t have to explain my laughter just now.

    7. SpaceySteph*

      It is so rare to have an update THIS satisfying. Not only did Carol get it, and OP is free from her harassment, but also they made real change to how they do things to prevent it in the future. I am thrilled.

    8. Not Me*

      A friend of mine works for a national check cashing and loan company that had a no visible tattoos policy. It’s ridiculous, but there are still plenty of companies out there like that.

      1. nora*

        I have tattoos, and I’m pro-tattoo. But I think a lot of visible tattoo policies are driven by controlling the content of the tattoos, not their existence. If tattoos are ok in the workplace, you can’t really tell someone with a blood-dripping grim reaper (came to mind because I work with someone with this tattoo) that they need to cover it up while someone else with a butterfly might not have to. So, no tattoos full stop is the result in the eyes of the employer.

        1. Not Me*

          This particular policy is driven by religion of the owners. They are 100% against any tattoos, regardless of content.

          You can easily have a policy that states no offensive tattoos. Dress code policies walk this fine line all the time.

        2. Blarn*

          “If tattoos are ok in the workplace, you can’t really tell someone with a blood-dripping grim reaper (came to mind because I work with someone with this tattoo) that they need to cover it up while someone else with a butterfly might not have to.”

          Yes you can. Already mentioned, but it’s the case with dress codes. The category ‘shirts’ is ok in the workplace and they manage to distinguish between ‘ok’ and ‘not ok’ shirts. Workplaces are able to stop people from coming to work in shirts depicting blood-dripping grim reapers without also stopping people from wearing blouses with butterflies.

        3. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before*

          What is so offensive about a blood dripping grim reaper?

      2. Observer*

        Sure, but some industries care less about this stuff than others.

        It strikes me that pretty much any industry where “anything goes as long as it’s safe and non-offensive” is typical, is going to be one where stuff like tattoos are going to be more acceptable, even in particular companies that do have a bit more of a dress code. On the other hand industries where dress codes that cover non-safety related things like shoe style (pumps only, eg) and hair color are still considered reasonable or not uncommon, you’re more likely to have a “no visible tattoos” policy even in a workplace that isn’t ridiculously uptight.

        And, yes, I realize that there will be exceptions. I’m talking generalities, not absolutes here.

        1. Not Me*

          Yep, check cashing and payday loans. Their locations are mostly in impoverished neighborhoods. I’m sure you can imagine how ridiculous the employees look covered in bandaids trying to hide the tattoos their customers have zero problems with. It’s pretty dumb.

        2. AKchic*

          I can actually understand it at a check-cashing place. It’s an identifier, and sometimes, you get some pretty squicky people at check-cashing places who will do whatever they can to try to identify the people who work there. Tattoos are identifiable.

      3. Jen S. 2.0*

        There’s a lot of space between “no visible tattoos” in an office where your clothing likely will cover most of your body, and “what is wrong with you that you have those disgusting tattoos AT ALL, let alone that I can SEE them with my deeply offended eyes,” which is where Carol is. I honestly don’t think there’s anything wrong with the first one for a conservative customer-facing workplace, because sometimes tattoos are graphic or violent or otherwise controversial in nature, and a blanket policy that is easy to follow takes care of it.

    9. smoke tree*

      I’m kind of in awe of Carol’s complete and utter inability to reconcile herself to the reality of working with someone who has tattoos. In my mind’s eye, she’s standing there, head tilted quizzically like a puppy trying to understand what’s being asked of it, as the LW and finally the boss try to explain the basic reality of the situation.

    1. Koko*

      I was always pulling for this OP, but somehow missed the first time how over-the-top Carol really was about this.

      1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

        Yes, I wasn’t getting the “lost all connection to reality meets being persecuted by tattoos on a woman” level of crazy. I thought it was normal, annoying “oh, I can see your tattoos!” I know, it’s ok. “I can see your tattoos.”
        Not, “Hey, Jane with the prosthetic leg, can you call me when my 10 AM appointment arrives? I told him to see you and your prosthetic leg” when he comes to the office level pathological.

    2. [A Cool Name Here]*

      So bananapants, that Carol essentially quit over the OP having tattoos. 0_O

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Right???? Anyone who quits over someone else’s tattoos really has a problem. I almost (*almost*) feel sorry for her.

  2. Gypsy pepper*

    VICTORY ON ALL FRONTS! Congratulations, and enjoy the calmer, more reasonable work environment backed by competent, reasonable management!

    1. Sara without an H*

      Yes, your speech was wonderful. I’ll bet the look on Carol’s face was deeply satisfying.

  3. Mrs. Weaver*

    What a great update! I can just picture Carol at job interviews trying to explain why she left this position, frothing at the mouth about tattoos. Even better if the interviewer pulls up a sleeve and shows some ink.

    1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

      My guess would be that Carol chooses similar wording to her Glassdoor review, which (without the necessary context) could be vague enough about non-professionalism for her to get away with.
      The potential “bright side” (if you want the schadenfraude that means Carol needs to move career/city in order to get another job) would be that OP works in an industry that networks and every hiring manager will already know FoamingMouthCarol before she even applies.

      1. Pilcrow*

        Based on the amount of pearl-clutching, my guess is Carol would *proudly* proclaim her reason for leaving to anyone who sits still long enough to listen.

          1. Auntie Social*

            She has plans to bring back the girdle and pant suits for Professional employees.

            1. Ra94*

              Pant suits?? But that would mean a lady wearing trousers! No, m’am, only ankle-lengths skirts for this 1850s damsel.

                1. RVA Cat*

                  I hadn’t heard that about Queen Victoria, but apparently the Victorian upper crust were also into exotic piercings. To bad the one about Prince Albert seems to be an urban legend. But some of the ladies may have had peachrangs…..

        1. Salymander*

          I really hope so. I would pay good money to see Carol tell her interview panel aaaaalllll about her issued with her last job and it’s evil tattoo apologist agenda.

    2. Snickerdoodle*

      That’s what I was thinking! That’s going to be a fun series of interviews. “Why did you leave your last position?” “I didn’t like my coworker’s tattoos of flowers.” ” . . . “

  4. tink*

    Good riddance to Carol. I’m glad your boss had your back, did something, AND implemented policy so that others can step in if they see this sort of behavior.

  5. Indigo a la mode*

    Yes!!! That is some strong management. I’m gleeful that Jane got to witness her in her finest form…though I’m appalled that this lady was *so sure* she’d be backed up that she acted like she could chastise the owners for daring to hire such a tattooed heathen!

    I really admire that not only was the problem person handled, but the bosses actually followed up all the way to supervisory changes and policy updates. These are good leadership models to follow and I’m glad you know that they’ll support their workers.

    1. ENFP in Texas*

      That’s what had my jaw dropping droppong – that Carol thought she had standing to accuse her boss of being unprofessional. Glad that Jane took care of the issue then and there instead of letting it fester.

    2. Bostonian*

      yes, this was all around awesome in that the problem person is no longer there AND management reacted in a way that will help prevent this in the future. win-win-win-win-win.

    3. Steggy Saurus*

      Exactly. It’s wonderful that the leaders listened to the remaining staff, acknowledged a workflow/communication issue, and then resolved it by making a structural change. It sounds like a great place to work.

    4. Iris Eyes*

      Agreed, after all the entries for worst boss of the year, this one seems like a contender for best boss/organization of the year.

  6. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    YESSSSSSSSSSSS, That’s right Carol, get out and stay out! I feel like we should dance in the ashes she’s left behind from exploding into flames right there in front of everyone.

    I’m glad that this really set things on it’s ear and that real changes were made [handbook policy update FTW!]

    Solid ownership, even though not a fan of the chastising bit but I think it was probably a boil over from the firework show at the end with Carol leaving in a blaze of glory.

    1. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

      I read it a lot more as don’t keep us in the dark about this sort of stuff, even if you want to try and handle it on your own, put us in the loop please so we don’t have another dramatic KABOOM like Carol did at that install.
      It sounds like they wanted to be supportive (especially given the changes they made), but didn’t have the chance.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        That’s fair. The wording makes it sound like she came in a bit hot and accusatory of “Don’t ever not tell me about things like this again! You don’t need to put up with it, I’ll handle it!”

        When the proper approach is “Why didn’t you tell me? You don’t have to be afraid to loop me in and I’ll take care of any of this kind of conflict in the future.”

        But given the emotions involved, it happens. It was clearly a learning lesson for everyone from ownership down to the shop core.

        1. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

          I definitely agree with your last paragraph. Sounds like the lessons got learned and common sense seems to have prevailed.

      2. Blue Horizon*

        You could make the argument that it was handled up until that point though.

        What are you going to say? “Carol was being pretty critical of me for my tattoos, which aren’t against the rules here, so I drew a firm line with her and told her to stop. She hasn’t said anything about it since, but she seems to be avoiding speaking to me. Just figured I should give you a heads up in case she explodes at me, then explodes at you when you try to shut it down, then quits in a rage over your continued tolerance of my tattooed existence and trashes the company on Glassdoor.”

        Really, this is so far outside the bounds of normal professional behavior that I think I would give employees a pass if they don’t anticipate it as a possibility.

  7. Myrin*

    Oh wow, OP, what an awesome update!
    I mean, obviously it must have felt unpleasant to be at the receiving end of such a ragey tirade, but it sounds like the longterm positive effects absolutely outweighed that. And what fantastic positive effects they were – outstanding!

    I now also wonder if Carol has had some problems with culture at your workplace in general and your tattoos were just the straw that broke the camels back, or if she’s for some reason so fixated on her hatred of tattoes that she was simply overcome by it at the point of the installation. Not that it matters, but inquiring mind certainly wants to know!

    1. WorkIsADarkComedy*

      I too am wondering what’s behind Carol’s rants.

      This in particular:

      she had her own reputation to look after

      Seriously, does Carol think people will consider her a degenerate if she remains in a workplace where other women show ink? This all sounds so narcissistic.

      1. Jessen*

        Probably yes. Or more likely she’ll think that people will think that the company is unprofessional, and that she must have been unprofessional to stay there.

        It would actually make some sense if there were some genuine serious unprofessional behavior going on.

        1. Lance*

          But the tattoos! The absolute scandal!

          Really though, Carol has some very… off (and possibly outdated?) ideas about ‘professionalism’, and I wouldn’t expect this to be the last time they’ll come back to bite her. Kudos for the bravery to tell off the owners themselves, I guess…?

      2. cmcinnyc*

        My guess is that Carol found herself on a PIP by the end of that humdinger of an afternoon and flounced.

        1. Observer*

          It doesn’t sound like there was a chance for that. Boss 2 showed up an hour after the tirade -which had to include time for the phone call and then for Boss 2 to get hold of HR Lady WHO WAS NOT IN THE OFFICE and then get to the site, it sounds like there was no conversation going on in the car, and she quit when they got to the office.

    2. ginger ale for all*

      I have a hope that Carol has kids and that they will get tattoos. Perhaps they can debut them at a holiday gathering?

      1. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

        I was just thinking of that one melodramatic Guardian article by Tess Morgan about her son getting a tattoo. “I stand, a lone tyrannosaurus, bellowing at a world I don’t understand.”

        1. Dahlia*

          There’s a really funny one, also, by a woman who’s pissy that her kid doesn’t eat mayo.

      2. MoopySwarpet*

        Or that she is not yet married and discovers her “professional” beau has tattoos . . . on their wedding night. ;)

      3. Not So NewReader*

        Speaking as a former “kid”, this is exactly what I would have done. My father’s hill to die on was black pants on women. [Insert unacceptable commentary here.] So when I hit 18 and had my own money, you KNOW what happened.

        On into my 30s I wore black pants when he said he was coming to visit. I really did challenge that man. To his credit, he said NOTHING. EVER. There was no awkwardness, no staring at the black pants, nothing. This issue was over and gone. In the end, I admired the guy for backing down from his rigid, narrow-minded stance. It was not the ending I expected for the black pants story. Through watching him change himself, I learned a bit more about changing myself.

        1. Reliquary*

          I’ve got to admit I’m more baffled about your father’s stance on black pants than about Carol’s stance on tattoos. What possible objection could anyone have to black pants?
          I worked as a bartender for many years, and black pants are so ubiquitous in the bar and restaurant industry that they’re part of practically every front-of-house employee’s required “black and whites.”

          1. Not So NewReader*

            lol. Right on.
            My father grew up in the twenties. “Good girls” did not wear black unless they were at a funeral. If a woman was dressed in black and NOT at a funeral, then she clearly was not a good girl.

            He had other issues with other colors that I really don’t want to repeat. I said, “Dad who writes your stuff?” He said, “Well THEY say….” So I said, “Dad, WHO is THEY? Name some names.” Of course he could not name names because there weren’t any names to mention. It was just some nonsensical thing his family/community taught him.

            I challenged his “belief system” and I think he found me tiring. Eventually, we stopped dealing with this stuff.

          2. mlem*

            There’s a tiny part of me that wants to believe it was all a long, long game to focus Not So NewReader’s inevitable rebellion on something completely harmless. Like, “Ugh, can you believe there are some women who … read physics for fun?! How tawdry!” And then quietly, secretly rejoices when kid rebels by reading physics for fun.

            I don’t think that’s the actual case here, of course, since there was unacceptable commentary, but it’s fun to think.

  8. WellRed*

    “She was pretty taken aback that *I* thought *she* was being weird,” followed by Jane telling Carol she was the one being unprofessional (guffaw).

    This part alone brought me joy and would have been good enough. I can’t believe how it spiraled. Carol seems like she might have something else going on but that’s not your problem. Good for you and good for your company.

  9. Keyboard Cowboy*

    This is so good. Like, WTF Carol? Do you think she reaches over her shoulder and carefully applies the tattoos with an eyeshadow palette every morning? Even in Carol-land, how is choosing once to have _permanent body art_ installed a “continued unprofessionalism”?

    1. Sack of Benevolent Trash Marsupials*

      I know, right? It’s so puzzling. But it seems possible to me that maybe Carol really does think you can simply remove tattoos. Maybe she has heard about tattoo removal and doesn’t understand the process? The alternative is that she believes OP should perform her duties in a bee suit, which seems equally unreasonable.

      1. Sam.*

        Yeah, she thinks OP should keep them covered at all time – the fact that OP kept exposing them is what she found unprofessional and unacceptable. She may’ve also found the tattoos themselves distasteful, but I think she was really offended by what she saw as blatantly flaunting them in the workplace. But OP made clear in her original letter that staying fully buttoned up wasn’t a reasonable expectation (not that any part of Carol’s actions were reasonable…)

      2. Dusty Bunny*

        ” The alternative is that she believes OP should perform her duties in a bee suit” – bawhahahaha!

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          As a beekeeper* and lover of the phrase “that office is full of bees” I laughed so hard at that. CAROL is the one who is in a suit full of bees — she carries her own around. They did not succesfully get out into the office thanks to Jane & Joe.
          *amateur, currently in between hives due to bears & mites & microbursts

          1. Mary (in PA)*

            *waves to my fellow beekeeper from my yard with four (possibly five) beehives*

            “The office is full of bees” makes me laugh, too. I hope Carol finds some sort of employment where she can clutch her pearls in peace, free of interaction with the great (tattooed) masses.

      3. Anonny*

        I always forget that ‘bee suit’ means one of them protective coveralls you use when keeping bees, and for a second thought you meant the OP would be going to work in a bee costume.

        1. londonedit*

          Yes, my first thought for ‘bee suit’ was ‘bee costume’ rather than ‘beekeeping suit’. Excellent visual image for a Friday morning.

      1. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

        My friend’s brother in law didn’t like her for a long time and it’s because he thought she was sooooo vain that she spent time every morning putting ringlets in her hair. She has naturally very curly, perfect ringlets. When he found out that her hair just grew like that, he became MUCH nicer to her. Some people just.don’t.get.it.

        1. Michaela Westen*

          That attitude is inherently disrespectful IMHO. If she was spending time curling her hair, it’s her choice and should be respected.

        2. Light37*

          He sounds like the kind of guy who rants about makeup and how women should look “natural,” while totally failing to understand that the “natural look” means that makeup is applied to look like you’re not wearing makeup.

          1. Michaela Westen*

            Yes, it’s your choice to spend your time that way and no one else’s business.

    2. Librarian of SHIELD*

      “She refuses to have a costly, painful, and lengthy medical procedure performed in order to make her body conform to my idea of professionalism!”

        1. Keyboard Cowboy*

          Don’t be ridiculous. Obviously our female bodies are designed to distract and allure men – the REAL contributors in the workplace – and serve only to reduce productivity and incite unprofessional thoughts in others. /s

    3. Booksalot*

      Carol is obviously a lizard person who cannot understand why LW has not yet shed her skin.

  10. Oranges*

    The more I read the update the more I want to question Carol out of sheer morbid fascination. My mind is blown.

    1. Oranges*

      I’d really like to know what the glass door review said. Not word for word but the general gist.

      1. NerdyLibraryClerk*

        From this update, my best guess is something like: “Tattooed heathens! OMG! The unprofessionalism!”

      1. Michaela Westen*

        I think it might be judgy, critical, arrogant fundamentalism. It would be interesting to know for sure, but only from a safe distance.

        1. Zephy*

          That’s the impression I got as well. Must come from a background where personally following rules takes a back seat to making sure everyone else is, too. I mean, I guess if your mythology includes the threat of large-scale disaster as a direct response to people not following rules good enough, you’d have a vested interest in making sure everyone else is following the rules, and that’s the kind of fear that sticks hard and resists logic.

    2. Funbud*

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Carol was raised in a very conservative home with a continuous chorus of “a lady doesn’t …” and “a lady should never…” Sounds kind of old fashioned, I know, but I am still shocked to meet people younger than me (I’m in my 50s) who were raised in this sort of environment. Something about her female coworker’s tattoos really set off a visceral reaction in Carol. Something beyond just personal taste. Weird.

      1. Michaela Westen*

        That’s why I think it might be fundamentalist. I think the chorus might have been “a lady with a tattoo is a heathen never-do-well who is going to hell and bringing her many boyfriends and all who associate with her along” type of thing. With parents/caregivers who got the vapors at the very thought of a lady getting a tattoo. (or wearing a short skirt, or a low-cut blouse, or bare legs or sleeveless, or having a date…)

      2. Michaela Westen*

        I googled “stereotypes of women with tattoos” and there are some interesting links, but I don’t have time to read them.

      3. Bortus*

        did you have a spy cam in my home growing up? :p I’m in my mid50s and this was pretty much the soundtrack of my childhood (and also most of my friends so…)

      4. Ra94*

        I wonder if Carol really wanted to get tattoos when she was younger but was warned off them because it would ‘ruin her career chances’, and is now SMARTING at the sight of someone her age who got the tattoos she wanted AND got the same job anyways.

      5. Liz*

        this wouldn’t surprise me at all. A family member’s wife, is VERY conservative. As far as I know her upbringing was not obsessively conservative, but she is very much someone who caters to her husband’s (my relative’s) quirks and whims, and once even apologized for taking her jacket off in her own home, becuase she had a sleeveless top on under it. not a cami, not a tank, but just a reglar old sleeveless top. My relative too, the same visit, made sure to tell her that 2 inches of her bra strap were showing. Again in their own home. um ok, whatever. But they’re close to my age, 40ish, so not too old fashioned. But wow. I was kind of like really? its not a big deal, you are not showing anything inappropriate etc.

        1. Emily*

          It’s wild to me how different people (living in the same society) can be so differently calibrated to body/clothing things! While your family member’s wife is fretting about taking off her jacket in her own home, I’m over here wondering if I’m prudish for being nervous about wearing a crop top in public.

      6. FuzzFrogs*

        I think there’s certain women who respond to their conservative communities and conservative upbringings by becoming the hall monitors of decency, for lack of a better term. I live in the South and see it all the time–one time I was getting my (very short) hair cut in a salon and a woman decided to start talking VERY LOUDLY in the salon about how she would never hire a woman with short hair. When the stylist asked her why, she said it was because a woman who cut her hair short was selfish, because she should understand that long hair is both pleasing and appropriate, and considerate to others. Therefore, in her retail store, in order to serve customers, her employees would need long hair. So they could…please the customers.

        I mean, first of all it was cuckoo bananas, but it made me realize how deeply this woman’s thinking was steeped in misogyny without her even fully realizing it.

        1. No Green No Haze*

          she said it was because a woman who cut her hair short was selfish, because she should understand that long hair is both pleasing and appropriate, and considerate to others.

          Well, that’s creepy as all hell.

        2. Oranges*

          Holy Moly, but you’re right. I’ve seen that attitude. It seems to me like a mixture of “If I have to do X then ALL must do X” and virtue signaling. Shudder.

        3. June First*

          I certainly hope you asked for the name of said retail store, so you could relieve her of the burden of accepting your selfish money.

        4. Delurking because it’s my hair!! damn it*

          Once I was getting my (also very short) hair cut at the salon, and the next stylist over gestured at me and joked to her very-long-haired client, “So you want a cut like hers?”
          The client’s response was to launch into a loud cautionary lecture about how men don’t like short hair. Apparently for my benefit? (Which, eff off??!)
          There was no (explicit?) religious or political subtext… But I guess people really do feel threatened when they see someone shrug off “rules” they themselves feel inescapably bound by… Even when it’s something as banal as a woman with an extremely common short hair style!

          1. Not So NewReader*

            “men don’t like short hair”
            .. and we know this to be true because of all the short haired women walking around saying men never, ever hit on them…..


        5. Tiny Soprano*

          Yeesh I definitely noticed some of this, more when I was growing out my buzz cut and people felt the need to tell me they were pleased/relieved I was finally going to have long hair again. It was so disturbing how many people thought it was for their benefit, or perhaps for the benefit of men. Illustrated by their confusion when I said I was just sick of having to wear hats when it was cold.

  11. GrilledCheeseforlunch*

    As I was reading this I started to get chills from the base of my scalp all down my arms. Something about a workplace backing you up so completely and then proactively putting things in place to prevent a repeat occurrence… was so satisfying. Thank you for sharing, and well done to you and the company you work for!

    1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

      I really liked the part where the company started with “you should have told us,” and when it was discovered that there wasn’t a process in place not only did not double down, did not say, “well for next time you should…” but instead said, “Oh, yes, that is a problem for which we will create a solution.”

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I KNOW RIGHT *heart eyes emoji*
        I would love to find a great job with a company like that!

  12. Jack be Nimble*

    Well done! Both you and your company handled this really well, and I’m so glad to hear that there are policy changes being put into place even though it’s unlikely that you’ll end up working with another tattoo wonk.

  13. Lost in the Woods*

    I loathe how people like Carol act like someone existing as themselves is inherently unprofessional. Glad things were resolved well, and I hope that glassdoor review has enough detail for people to tell that the person who wrote it was the one out of line!

  14. mark132*

    I love happy endings! I guess ideal would have been Carol would have gone through a journey discovery and realized it was none of her business, but that was probably way too much to hope for.

  15. Creamsiclecati*

    Yay! You don’t have to deal with her anymore. What a weird thing to quit a job over, though

    1. Zephy*

      Yeah, I’d love to be a fly on the wall in Carol’s next interview. If she even puts this place on her resume (she was only there a few months), I really want to know how she answers the “why did you leave your last job” question.

    2. Risha*

      I’m going to bet that the tattoo issue was ultimately peripheral to why she quit; she just couldn’t understand or tolerate that SHE was being reprimanded (especially when she was 1000% sure she was in the right). Any performance issue she was called out for by her boss probably would have garnered the same reaction.

  16. Julian*

    “I hired her for her skill, not her skin.” is the most boss (pun intended) answer possible.

    I don’t know Jane but now I want to work for her.

    1. Sam.*

      I also appreciate that she called in the owner and HR person almost immediately, even though she didn’t know about the situation beforehand. When Carol refused to listen to her directions to back off, she didn’t waffle or waste time. I’d feel pretty good about that, if I were the OP.

  17. Mine Own Telemachus*

    As someone with a huge arm tattoo that’s hard to hide, I super appreciate this update! It’s good to see a boss responding as they should!

  18. Utoh!*

    Standing up to a bully usually results in them backing down, and this case, without a leg to stand on, LEAVING the building! Yay for you and your company!

  19. Quake Johnson*

    What a strange hill to die on – somebody else’s skin.

    I’m just dying to know how she explained leaving this job to her friends/family. “I had to quit on the spot because someone else had tattoos.” Goodness.

    1. socrescentfresh*

      I bet she’s going to spin it as “my boss had no respect for me or other principled employees and my conscience would no longer allow me to be part of that company.” [*barfing emoji*]

        1. MuseumChick*

          I feel like as the interviewer I would have to press for details because I would assume something else was going on. Like maybe the tattoos were for racist symbols or something.

        2. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

          I’d press like Museum Chick, but I’d also make sure that before any offers when out that I talked to manager(s) at that job to get their version of events as well. I agree with with the group at large that in today’s world tattoos aren’t taboo and are far more common.
          (Caveat: racist/sexist/graphic/gang related ink still doesn’t in my opinion belong in a professional setting. If you MUST get one of those types of tattoos please consider placement very carefully.)

          1. PSB*

            I’d agree with your caveat. It seems like a fairly simple standard, too. Anything that would be objectionable on clothing or posted on a cubicle wall shouldn’t be in a visible tattoo, either.

          2. Blunt Bunny*

            I would argue that the racist tattoos and the person owning them doesn’t belong in the workplace.

      1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

        “Oh, no! What did they want you to do?”
        You wouldn’t believe me if I told you!
        “Oh wow, you can tell me!”
        No, it’s just too scandalous!
        “Did they expect you break the law?”
        THEY don’t care about the law. They have no moral center and no sense of ethics. They are simply not professional!
        You have to tell me!
        “Well, they hired a woman with TATTOOS!”
        “Oh, yeah crazy. What did she do?”
        She had tattoos.

    2. Agent J*

      Right? I hope whoever Carol decides to loudly complain to next hammers the point home—she was the one being unprofessional and weirdly focused on something that did not affect her work or OP’s work.

      So happy for OP for how this all worked out!

    3. AnotherAlison*

      I have a sneaking suspicion that Carol may not have many friends. But she should consider getting some. The proper way to handle ones gripes about an “unprofessional” coworker is to be nice to them at work and then go home and gossip about them to your friends and family. ; )

      1. Keyboard Cowboy*

        +1. It is impossible to sit next to even mostly-nice colleagues every single day without going home and complaining! :)

    4. Yay Area*

      Right? Especially given how common tattoos are, regardless of socio-economic background.

  20. Sara without an H*

    Carol accused Jane of unprofessionalism????? Not smart.

    Carol will probably get interesting reactions when she answers questions about “why did you leave your last job” at future interviews. I think everybody else behaved with admirable professionalism here, especially Jane, who gets my nomination for Best Boss of 2019.

    I’m sorry you and your co-workers were “chastised” for not tipping Jane off, but really, this is a hard one to call. At least your management has used the episode to make constructive changes, and that will probably benefit everybody in the future.

    1. Engineer Girl*

      I think the reason for being chastised is that the main incident occurred off campus. That meant embarrassment for management. Management probably would be less upset if the major upset took place on their own worksite.

      1. Kate R*

        That was my inkling too, though I still feel for the OP and colleagues who thought the situation had been resolved at least on their own worksite. The irony of Carol exploding at a colleague at another worksite about professionalism. Did the offsite client witness this? Because *THAT* is unprofessional.

      2. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

        That’s my read as well. Carol went KABOOM really spectacularly, and did it off-site and possibly in front of clients. If I was the manager/owner that would probably embarrass the dickens out of me too.
        Actually I thought management over all handled the situation really well once they knew the problem was there, and tried to put in place structures to prevent it from happening again.

      3. Sara without an H*

        I admit, I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re probably right. If Carol had imploded back at the shop, she might have gotten off with a Very Serious Talking To. The fact that she blew up on the client’s premises probably sealed her fate as soon as Jane called the owner.

    2. Phony Genius*

      I was taught that it is absolutely unacceptable, without exception, to chastise, criticize, reprimand, or in any other way tell the victim of harassment that they should have reported it when they did not. Where I work, Jane would be fired for this alone, even if every other thing was done properly, and the OP was satisfied with the result.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        Except that OP and the others did NOT report the harassment, allowing it to continue to a point where it exploded… in front of the client.

        You can indeed be reprimanded for not reporting harassment.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        It may not even have been a formal reprimand; it might have been something more like an astonished, “OMG why didn’t you guys say something?! I would have stepped in before this blew up onsite. Please speak up from now on!”

      3. Iris Eyes*

        That’s a REALLY hard line to take that takes effectively assumes no agency on the part of the victim. Not even the case here but regardless

      4. Not So NewReader*

        Some of the harassment policies I have read include reprimands for failing to report.
        So failure to report can stand alone as a point for correction from a boss.

        However, OP’s story reads to me that the correction was done in a manner to say, “This can’t ever happen to you again! We will not accept this type of behavior here.” I think most people would feel pretty good at this point.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      They’re production workers and you don’t always get asked many questions like that. So Carol will find a job somewhere without having to answer much at all, then they will find her personality issues out the same way the OP’s company found out, something will trigger her unhinged ways.

  21. Rebecca*

    So glad for this update! I cannot understand people like Carol, I mean, what difference does it make? It’s not her skin, it’s not her money paying for the tattoos, and as long as her coworkers are doing their jobs correctly and safely, she needs to get over it. I hope if she finds a new job, and starts in again, which she probably will, they shut it down swiftly. Carol needs to chill.

    1. Working Mom Having It All*

      Yeah, I’m pretty surprised even someone like this would actually be willing to sacrifice their job over something so silly. Like, even if you are passionate in your dislike of tattoos… surely your desire to keep a roof over your head is more important?

      1. Not So NewReader*

        She gave up her job but OP still has the tatts. I wonder what Carol thinks she has won here.

    2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      People never fail to amaze me with their ability to get upset about other people’s realities.

  22. Yvette*

    Congratulations, great resolution. Just curious, as far as “… a formal tattoo/piercings/hair color policy is being added to our employee handbook; basically, anything goes as long as it’s safe to have around machinery and not offensive.” Did they spell out what was considered offensive. Because otherwise you could have another Carol situation all over again.

    1. remizidae*

      That’s impossible to spell out fully. It has to come down to managers with (hopefully) good judgment, which it sounds like “Jane” has.

      1. Zephy*

        I dunno, I think it would be reasonable to include examples of what counts as an offensive tattoo. “Discriminatory slogans and images, depictions of graphic violence, and sexually explicit imagery” pretty much covers all the bases – anything you couldn’t say or show via some other medium at work. The only potential gray areas I’m seeing here are…I dunno, maybe flowers could be suggestive, if you’re really into Georgia O’Keefe?

        1. Yvette*

          That is what I was thinking, profanity, swastika, etc. You can spell out what is acceptable and unacceptable in a dress code, why not this?

  23. SheLooksFamiliar*

    Thank you for the update, OP! This is a very satisfying outcome, and I’m glad your leadership team took Carol to task for her outburst.

  24. Red5*

    Reading the first paragraph was awesome, but holy bananas I did not expect the rest of the update. That escalated quickly! So glad your bosses had your back and now your workplace is Carol-free.

    1. Gerta*

      Yeah, after that conversation I fully expected stilted conversation to gradually melt into a reasonably civil working relationship in which Carol had realised she wasn’t going to get anywhere with this….. Then….BOOM! Amazing.

  25. Will "scifantasy" Frank*

    We (myself and the three senior ladies that Carol had gone to to complain) were chastised for letting it go as far as it did without giving Jane a heads up, even if it was a ‘this is a thing but I’m handling it’ warning. The senior most coworker pointed out that none of them really had any power to do anything, and that has now changed.

    This may be the best part of the whole thing. I mean, yay for Carol’s exit, no question. And I admit the chastisement seems a bit out of line…but this addressed a pretty glaring oversight in operations.

    It strikes me as a classic “we have a small company, everybody can talk to everybody, so do we need hierarchy? …oh, that’s why” situation, but I’m glad the “oh, that’s why” didn’t involve saying “well, X person was just a problem,” but admitting the need for a supervisory role.

    1. China Beech*

      Agreed! I don’t know how many people would think to or even want to go to a boss with something that could have – rightly or wrongly – been interpreted as an “annoyance.” I don’t know that I would have gone to a supervisor in that scenario. But i am glad it all ended well, with some really wonderful results ! HOORAY Jane and Joe (and honorable mention to HR lady)!

    2. londonedit*

      Maybe it’s one of those things where ‘chastised’ has nuanced meanings depending on culture, but I’d see ‘chastised’ as meaning ‘gently admonished’ – ‘Guys, you really should have spoken up about this before. We have to know when someone’s behaviour is out of line, otherwise we can’t do anything about it and we end up with a situation like this. Please, come and talk to us if something like this ever happens again’.

  26. 202Lawyer*

    So glad this worked out well! Speaking as a lawyer who works in the fairly conservative area of tax and finance law, who also has two very visible tattoos, Carol is mistaken if she thinks she’ll find an entirely tattoo-free workplace. She’s also mistaken if she thinks being bothered by (non-offensive) tattoos puts her in the prevailing majority of modern viewpoints.

  27. Muriel Heslop*

    This is a wonderful update! So much to love about how this was handled. See ya, Carol!

  28. Laura Stilwell*

    OP, could you post your own Glassdoor review praising the company for dealing with workplace bullying in such a fantastic way?

  29. Delta Delta*

    Just a guess – carol was probably at the breaking point with this job and the OP’s tattoos were a convenient scapegoat. I bet she’d have rage-quit for anything. If it wasn’t tattoos, it would have been the wrong kind of pens or not updating software only on Tuesdays or whatever.

    1. ENFP in Texas*

      I have a sneaking suspicion it wasn’t a “rage quit” as much as a “you’re fired”… if she went so far as to accuse her boss of being unprofessional, I can’t imagine she reined it in at all for the owner and the HR person.

    2. Zephy*

      Based on the original letter, it looks like Carol hated the tattoos from the beginning. I guess there’s a chance that if it wasn’t OP’s tats, it would have been something else, and Carol was a poor culture fit from the beginning. But I also know people for whom tattoos, in particular, are that one Thing they just can’t get over, no matter how little it affects them.

  30. Matilda Jefferies*

    Damn, that is SO satisfying. Seeya, Carol – don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

  31. Allornone*

    Wow. Can you imagine what her next job interview will be like?

    “So, tell me about why you left your last job?”
    “Well, you won’t believe it. It was so unprofessional. One of my coworkers, oh goodness, I shudder to ever say it, one of my coworkers..she…she..had TATTOOS.”
    “Um, so?”
    “But, TATTOOS!”

    1. MuseumChick*

      I feel like, as the interviewer I would have to ask for more details. Like “What exactly were the tattoos of?” Because I would be assuming no one would quite just because of tattoos. They must be tattoos showing offensive imagery or something. Then as it became clear that was not the case it would be “Ok, thank you, I think I have all the information I need. We will be in touch if you are selected. Have a good day.”

    2. time for lunch*

      She needs to get into tech, because without a time machine to go back to 1961, she’s screwed.

        1. Gerta*

          I think the idea was if she works in tech she can make a time-machine and return to her natural habitat.

          1. Keyboard Cowboy*

            Totally – but she’ll have trouble working with all these unprofessional heathens around, distracting her with their base immorality.

    3. AnotherAlison*

      There is weirdness about tattoos out there, though. My husband has said he would require a service electrician with visible tattoos to cover them for work. (He has one tattoo himself, but it’s not visible, very 90s and he’s mid-removal process.) He also has a friend with a large HVAC business that requires technicians to cover up tattoos. Meanwhile, at my professional, conservative engineering office, I see plenty of tattoos. I have someone on my project team with various facial piercings. I’m not sure how to explain the cultural comparison. I think going into people’s homes to do service work does require extra conservative dress because there are “Carols” out there. I also think people with blue collar jobs do things like cover up tattoos to prove professionalism, while more white collar job people get away with a more individualized appearance because they get credit for professionalism via degrees, job titles, status, etc.

      1. lawschoolmorelikeblawschool*

        That is very interesting about the electrician/HVAC thing! I’m now trying to think if I’ve had folks come do work at my house with tattoos. FWIW I have tattoos as do a small percentage of my colleagues in a government job.

        1. Kiwiii*

          All of the newer coordinators in my state agency have tattoos. Usually they’re just a few words or a tasteful flower or something, but I literally can’t think of anyone under about 40 without them.

        2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

          I’ve recently had electricians and plumbers in to do some work, and almost all of them had large, visible tattoos. One guy I’m not sure about because he was wearing long sleeves.

      2. Allornone*

        Interesting. My boyfriend just started a job as a field tech for Comcast. Two of his tattoos poke out from short sleeves and he has one on the back of his neck that’s visible (he’s bald, so there’s no hiding it behind hair). I wonder if, when he gets out of training, they’ll ask him to cover them up. I never thought of it, but I imagine for the reasons you specified, they just might. Meanwhile, while my only tattoo isn’t visible under most office attire, if it had been, I couldn’t imagine them batting an eye at it.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          Cable companies are definitely a different business model, even though the actual technician work is very similar. I’d say an HVAC or electrician business has to be more relationship-oriented and customer focused. There’s a big switching cost with cable (or at least hassle if not monetary cost). It’s easy to call another electrician. You might be surprised how much of his business is repeat customers and referrals. My son is working for him this summer and there have been so many dinner table discussions about his “homeless person” looking beard and how he can’t go to work like that.

      3. Moray*

        I have a coworker with a weirdly holier-than-thou attitude towards tattoos, because her tattoo is covered by clothing, why can’t everybody else seem to restrain themselves to that. (I have no idea what it is, haven’t asked).

      4. No Green No Haze*

        people with blue collar jobs do things like cover up tattoos to prove professionalism, while more white collar job people get away with a more individualized appearance because they get credit for professionalism via degrees, job titles, status, etc.

        Ding ding ding! Winner. While tattoos are more and more widespread, there is still a class stigma attached to them if you’re perceived to be low income; whereas if the rest of you is visually coded “whitecollar”/high income (whether or not your job actually pays well), a tattoo is edgy, cool, exotic, daring or interesting instead of trashy/dangerous/stupid.

        Someday I am going to write a thorough Patrick Colquhoun-style treatise on the unstated class markers of the United States. We pretend to be baffled by the UK’s social legacy of rigid class structure but we’re just as stratified, even if we aren’t aware of it.

    4. BethRA*

      “And she wouldn’t let me comment on them constantly or stand for me scolding her!”

      Bananapants, indeed.

      thanks for the update, OP!

  32. time for lunch*

    “I have my reputation to consider!”

    “Did you hear, they threw Mrs. John Calvin* (or maybe Goody Calvin?) out of the Ladies’ Auxiliary for frequenting a debased and immoral place of business! She’s in the stocks in the town square if you want to pass by and spit on her on your way to the town well. I heard she worked near someone with the mark of the beast on her forearms! She’ll never eat lunch in this town again!”
    *you knew, those stuffy clubs that identify women by their husbands’ names?

    Seriously, she sounds like someone who has one of those hard-and-fast a-rule-is-a-rule-and-that-can-never-change worldviews.

    1. Nessun*

      “If you have tattoos, beware we will mark you with a Scarlet T! You know, one made of cloth, sewn on your every high-collared, long-sleeved dress top, because the only way to deal with you choosing to brand yourself is…to brand you…again…waitaminute…”
      “Yeah, I feel like we need to rethink this?”

  33. Knitting Cat Lady*

    What a weird hill to die on…

    Seriously. I personally don’t have tattoos because I’m a wimp and have metal allergies.

    And pretty often, especially in the summer, I see tattoos that have me wondering why on earth anyone would choose a motive like *that*.

    But I wouldn’t even dream about commenting on anyone’s tattoos unless directly asked for an opinion!

    It’s easy, people. What other people do with their own bodies is none of your business.

    Especially if the BOSS has no problem!

    1. Veryanon*

      Right? I don’t love tattoos myself, but I just ignore them on other people because, hey, it’s not my body. Although I will say I was a bit taken aback the other day when one of our summer interns came to ask me a question and he had large tattoos of (what I assume was) Satan on one leg and a pentagram on the other. Yeesh.

      1. Elspeth*

        The tattoo may well be of Cernunnos, the Celtic horned god of life, fertility, and protector of the forest – many people mistake him for Satan.

        1. Veryanon*

          I think that might have been a bit obscure for this particular person, but point taken. It was still kind of surprising, though, especially with the pentagram.

          1. Witch who knows Satanists (who are pretty cool)*

            I mean, Satanism is a legit religion (or religions, since there are many variants) so it’s not that uncommon.

            Or maybe he just likes metal.

            Pentagrams are mainly seen in Pagan and witchcraft circles, not Satanism though.

            1. ginger ale for all*

              But how do we know Satan likes metal? He/she could just as easily like smooth jazz or adult contemporary.

          2. Airy*

            Pentagrams aren’t always satanic either, but of course, if he is a Satanist, as long as he’s one who does a good job and behaves appropriately at work, it shouldn’t affect your judgement of him as an intern.

      2. Michaela Westen*

        More than once I’ve seen devil/angel tattoos – one on each side of the body.

    2. Working Mom Having It All*

      I can think of lots of people I know who don’t like tattoos, or who are even against them, think they are tacky, think showing a visible tattoo is inappropriate in a professional context, etc. I also feel like I have a sense of the cultures and religions where they are more frowned upon.

      But I can’t say as I’ve run across someone in real life who was willing to sacrifice their own material wellbeing over someone else’s (totally normal and not neo-Nazi related) tattoos.

      1. Lady Phoenix*

        The only tattoo I will judge greatly is nazi and racist tattoo.

        No, white dude, you can not reclaim the swatsica, because it was never YOURS to begin with. Please sod off and get your face punched by Captain America.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          That kind of stuff is often a sign someone has been in jail and there are thankfully now programs and artists that will do cover up for free to rid a person of it. Granted those people who are ashamed and did it for their own protection while locked up don’t tend to show them off like the people I know you’re talking about.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      It’s okay to ask to look at them if you see a cool one; I do it when I notice someone has ink, but usually only if I’m already interacting with them.

      It’s not good form to touch, however. You’d be surprised how many people do. When Half-Blood Prince came out, I wore a sleeveless shirt to the bookstore, as it was July, and I swear, half the people in line randomly poked my arm while going, “IS THAT REAL???”

      1. smltheppl*

        I have a snippet of a van Gogh painting on my forearm and the most surprising part is the number of strangers that will touch my arm without asking because they think it’s painted on.

        A. Don’t touch me.
        B. If you think it’s painted, why would you touch it and mess it up??

  34. Amber Rose*

    Well that… escalated. LW, I love the script you used! Kudos for standing up for yourself, and kudos to your management for standing up for you and everyone else.

    1. Amber Rose*

      As a side note, when I mentioned to a boss once that I maybe wanted a tattoo, her response was to recommend the place she went for hers.

      Carol has no idea how many people around her are being “unprofessional.” I wonder if she’d faint away out of shock.

  35. RUKiddingMe*

    Glad it turned out so positively. Yay! I’m kinda disappointed that she quit instead of them saying “you’re fired,” but yeah obviously she saw the writing on the wall. Oh and just for the record..Carol is all kinds of weird.

  36. Tmarie*

    As a 56 year old woman who has flower tattoos all the way around both ankles…oh, and I’m an accountant who likes Capri pants. LOL, Good for Jane!

  37. Llellayena*

    I’m thrilled for the result, but I’m a little curious if Carol encountered any *men* with tattoos while on the client site. If she did and only reacted to a *woman* with tattoos, for her sake I hope she never uses this job for a reference. That’s clearly gender based discrimination and I’d be sure to bring it up to anyone who called about her.

    1. Coder von Frankenstein*

      Something tells me Carol isn’t getting a good reference out of this job, whether she was discriminating or not.

    2. Elspeth*

      The LW said that there are men in the shop who have tattoos, so I think this was definitely a gendered thing with Carol.

      1. Lady Phoenix*


        Like with men, tattoos are an expected thing. They show toughness and masculinity when guys do it.

        But a woman with a tat is a degenerate because how DARE a woman forever tarnish her flesh by putting INK on it. Women’s flesh must be protected (and also degraded because women are to blame for everything).

        But then again, I notice some ladies tend to just shit on their fellow ladies just cause they are ladies.

      2. Observer*

        Not necessarily – she also said that she’s not sure if Carol was aware because they work in another building.

  38. CatCat*

    This is amazing. Did the Glassdoor review mention tattoos?

    I have so many questions for Carol. Mostly, WHAT IS GOING ON WITH YOU?

    I’m sure I’ll never have the satisfaction of finding out what, deep down, Carol’s deal was.

    But I do get the sweet, sweet satisfaction of this update. OP handling it like a boss. Then the boss also handling it like a boss. Amazing.

    1. nnn*

      That’s what I was wondering! Was the Glassdoor review a vague “OMG, so unprofessional!”, or was it a specific “One person had tattoos and management wouldn’t do anything about it!”

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        I, too, was wondering this. I wish OP could share it but I guess that would be giving away her company. Plus then we’d all want to apply to work there! <3

  39. Coder von Frankenstein*

    Wow. Of all the things to get bent out of shape and ragequit over, “co-worker’s completely non-offensive tattoos” is pretty far out there.

    Glad to hear the problem is resolved! Also, props to Jane for handling the situation… like a boss. :)

    1. Coder von Frankenstein*

      (Drat, other people got to that joke before I did. And executed it better. Ah well.)

  40. Jaid*

    I’m happy for you and your company, OP. Achievement! Common sense skill: UNLOCKED.

    *I don’t play video games, but I think that’s how it works. ;-)

    1. Nessun*

      I’m gonna add (because I do play video games :D) –
      For that awesome response the very last time Carol made a comment: Self-love, self-worth, self-respect: LEVEL UP

  41. Martin*

    OP, kudos to you for calmly and clearly dealing with Carol. That took a lot of guts to just shut her down.

    Her subsequent implosion was just proof of how unreasonable she was.

  42. RJ the Newbie*

    OP, that was a great and professional response. I’ve been in design/engineering for over 20 years and honestly would have found Carol’s constant tattoo issues difficult to deal with. It’s an everyday thing to see and no big deal. Good on you and your boss Jane and best of luck in your Carol-free work environment.

  43. Malarkey01*

    This is awesome! Jane has seriously good manager skills. I even like that she closed the loop by informing everyone that they are responsible for keeping management in the loop on this. So many times LWs wonder if they should tell managers x or y and this just validates that managers need to be aware of disruption and disrespect in the workplace, and she made sure everyone is clear on that going forward. That Jane took action so quickly and they’ve put new processes in place and updated the handbook already- wow!

  44. Tangerina Warbleworth*

    And Carol went home, stripped down to take a bath, caught sight of the “JOHNNY DEPP 4 EVER” tattoo she got on her butt fifteen years ago in a drunken haze, then threw herself onto the bathmat and cried and cried.

    1. Gazebo Slayer*

      *snrk* Here in Boston we used to have ubiquitous subway ads for a tattoo removal service that featured a tattoo in gothic font reading “I’M AWSOME.”

  45. Sarah*

    This drives me nuts. This woman is very out of touch. I work for the federal government in DC. I have tattoos and a nose ring. Zero issues.

  46. mananana*

    I was so hoping that this line “About an hour after the team swap, Joe (the other owner) came in the company car ……” was going to be followed by the sentence “Joe stepped out of the car and was covered head-to-toe in tatts…..”

    But still. What an amazing update!

      1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

        I’m more impressed when managers stand up for an employee’s life choices that they don’t share – “I wholly disapprove of what you say—and will defend to the death your right to say it.” is a stronger position than “Tattoos are okay as I have some. Just don’t get me started on (piercings/hair colors/Mac vs. PC/…)”

  47. AnonEMoose*

    Amazing update, OP!

    I wonder if the “chastising” was more like a conversation along the lines of “I’d have liked this brought to my attention before…why didn’t anyone say anything? Please don’t let this happen again.”

    1. M&Ms Fix Lots of Problems*

      Yeah – that was my thought/suspicion as well. I can’t stay on top of things that I am not aware are problems (maybe with a side of – this could have been as a boss being set up to fail).

  48. Sherri*

    Wow! It is fascinating the power that one conversation can have. Really, all the many ramifications, from chilly silence to Carol quitting, flowed from that one conversation. This is probably why many of us (I do include myself here) shy away from doing it. This will be inspiration for me the next time I am faced with a difficult conversation.

    Congrats to the LW!

  49. Lora*

    OP, this is a dumb question but I’m gonna ask, are you in the Mobile, Alabama region?

    I ask specifically because my ex had a stepmother for a while, named Carol, and this is EXACTLY the sort of thing she would do. Other things which sent her on a rampage included:
    -Women menstruating at all, anywhere on earth, as it was a sign of Eve’s Curse and sin (she hinted that masturbation had something to do with it but I never quite got the full story). Both her daughters left home as soon as possible, and her younger daughter lived with me and the then-husband while she was a teenager.
    -Roadsides without guard rails. Like, ANY road that did not have a guard rail on the side sent her into a tizzy approaching a panic attack about accidents and running off the road.
    -Dishes in the sink. Her dishes, which she had eaten off of, in the sink, which she had not personally washed yet. Especially if heaven forfend one of them got cracked. They weren’t special dishes or Waterford crystal or anything, she just freaked out about them and would accuse random people of trying to break her dishes so that they would cut her hands, because the Devil possesses people and makes the dishes break in her hand and that’s how Satan gets you.
    -Real flower bouquets. She had about a zillion plastic plants, which collected dust. She claimed to be allergic to all real flowers everywhere. She was not, she just hated flowers and not only did SHE not want any, she didn’t want anyone else to have any either.

    And so many other things. She got fired many times from many jobs for being obnoxious and weird at co-workers, exactly as you describe, but imagine it repeating across car dealerships, retail sales, whatever kind of job you can get without any education or much experience in the greater Mobile, AL metro region.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      We use fake names here most of the time. We’re also asked not to guess where people are or where they work because it can spook a person from sharing.

    2. Auntie Social*

      Yet another reason to stay out of Alabama. I have family back there and I thought they were a little odd, but this . . . .

    3. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

      because the Devil possesses people and makes the dishes break in her hand and that’s how Satan gets you.

      lol given how many dishes I’ve broken over the years, it’s a wonder I’m not banging Satan on the regular. Very disappointed at the lack of whatever-it-is the Devil does when he ‘gets’ you.

      In my experience, people like Carol (both yours and the OP) have unresolved pain they haven’t dealt with and refuse to deal with. Far easier to take their anger out on other people. They end up pushing everyone away, losing jobs, losing friends. It’s very sad, although it’s also a relief to be away from them. Glad everything worked out for you, OP. Your company sounds awesome, I wish more employers were like them.

      1. Syfygeek*

        Lady AP- I snorted so hard it hurt! And I break a lot of glasses- what entity is helping with that?

        1. Lynn*

          Heck-I make stained and fused glass as a hobby. Wonder who is coming my way for purposely breaking glass on a pretty much daily basis? Yikes!

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Planned obsolesce? The company is helping with the glasses breaking on a routine basis.

    4. Nicelutherangirl*

      Wow. If ex’s former stepmother thinks that Eve’s “curse” and masturbation are somehow related, that is some twisted amalgamation and interpretation of Bible stories. A therapist could spend their entire career exploring that psyche, unraveling what happened to her, then teaching her healthier coping skills.

    5. Working Mom Having It All*

      This is living in a small town in the South. There is one of these people in every family or every church/workplace/neighborhood/social group.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        It’s a small town anywhere issue, seriously. We have them up here and this is why I’m more cautious in BFE than working next door to a homeless encampment.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            Seriously, everyone needs to just go watch Murder Mountain on Netflix and see what the hills are like in northern California.

            Seclusion is a helluva drug on its own!

    6. Michaela Westen*

      This is a good example of the damage fundamentalism does, and the damage done by politicians and elites who use fundamentalism to manipulate voters and workers.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Both your Carol and OP’s Carol will probably experience quality of life issues because of their own choices. Neither Carol will have an easy road if they keep doing what they are doing.

      People bemoan situation of the old person in the nursing home who no one visits. Sometimes there is a backstory on that, and here is a prime example.

      1. Michaela Westen*

        Yep, neither of my parents can expect visits from me. They had plenty of chances.

  50. Edianter*

    I *REALLY* want to see that Glassdoor review… just to see what Carol could POSSIBLY be saying. I wonder, OP, if it would be possible for you to remove identifying info and share it here??

    1. Pomona Sprout*

      I send this request!

      OP, if there’s any way you can possibly share the content of that review without outing yourself or your company, I know it would make a lot of people here very, very happy!

  51. Bow Ties Are Cool*

    Carol is batspit cray-cray. Glad you don’t have to deal with her anymore, OP!

  52. Dust Bunny*

    That is less bananapants than the clothes-giving, food-forcing, guilt-tripping boss from earlier this week, but it’s still bananapants.

    LW I would guess that you are not the only one who is relieve to have that one out of your hair.

      1. Zephy*

        There’s a nonzero chance that that’s EXACTLY what Carol looks and sounds like.

        (trivia time: the actress that played Carrie’s mom is still, to this day, convinced that Carrie is a comedy.)

        1. Dust Bunny*

          . . . well, I’m still not sure if Poltergeist is a horror movie or a spoof, so I guess that’s fair.

  53. Nicelutherangirl*

    No matter where it happens, or why, everyone wins when somewhere, for any reason, JUSTICE and COMMON SENSE prevail!

  54. Director of Alpaca Exams*

    Can the AAM commentariat collectively send Jane a bouquet? That was amazing. Well done, OP.

    1. Kathenus*

      YES!!! Oh my gosh has our Nextdoor derailed recently. It is amazing how strong people feel about things, and that they absolutely MUST share these feelings with others. I admit I read it more for entertainment than anything, but occasionally can help with a lost pet or find something to buy. But in these cases I PM people versus posting because too many people on ours are completely nuts.

  55. Fiddlesticks*

    I pretty much hate tattoos on anyone and everyone, but that’s MY own personal hangup… and I say BIG HOORAY for the OP and the way that she and Jane solved this situation!! It’s great to hear about a successful resolution like this at AAM.

  56. Observer*

    “she has her reputation to think of”? That has to be one of the funniest lines I’ve read in a long time.

    1. Heidi*

      What reputation? Her reputation for being unhinged?

      Obviously, there is a lot going on with Carol outside of this one issue. Jane is probably relieved to be rid of her.

    2. pcake*

      I know, right? Does she think she’ll be passed up for promotions because she worked with someone with *GASP* tattoos?

  57. Syfygeek*

    This may be my favorite line ever read on any forum:
    “I hired her for her skill, not her skin.”

    And I’ll chip in on flowers for Jane!

  58. Dame Judi Brunch*

    This is such a satisfying update! I just keep reading it over and over again, I love it so much!

  59. Radio Girl*

    Fantastic followup!

    Yes, Jane is awesome!

    Carol is angry at something, but it’s not your tats, OP.

  60. Lady Phoenix*

    Carol: “OP is unprofessional because she has tattooes!”

    1) Harasses OP until demanded to stop
    2) Has a massive fit about OP AGAIN in public
    3) Screams that boss is unprofessional for not firing OP for having tatoos
    4) Rages quits from her job

    Carol: “This place is unprofessional and I must protect my reputation!”

  61. CJ Record*

    Okay, but not only is Jane awesome for how she handled it, but she is awesome that the long term fallout is to define and document the policy, and that the policy is “all the work-safe things!” That is a place to hold on to!

  62. Tata*

    I just don’t get Carol…..a lot of people have tattoos. It’s normal. I work in a customer facing roll so I cover mine up when needed but when I’m not meeting with customer’s there is no issue with showing them. Carol is going to have a hard time finding a company in which no one has a tattoo. I know there was no mention except that 2 male coworkers had tattoos as well and how Carol handled.

  63. Mockingdragon*

    I’m also on team “what the heck was in that Glassdoor review”! Would you possibly consider taking a screenshot and scrubbing any identifying info? I’m SO happy to hear this went the way it did!

  64. Elizabeth West*


    Jane is awesome, Carol is a twit, and I’m glad this turned out well for everyone! Also, I would love to see that Glassdoor review, hahahaha. I bet it’s hilarious!

  65. ssssssssssssssssssss*

    Your Jane is awesome. Cherish this boss.

    Carol, in the end, quit over her discomfiture about tattoos. SO bizarre but so much better for you all since she left.

  66. NeroliRose*

    If I could share a story…many moons ago, I worked with a Carol-esque woman, and this brought it all back, in glorious detail.

    My version of Carol was recently divorced, and dating a guy in our office. Good-looking guy, went to an Ivy League school, had a really good role in the company. He liked how she was “quirky” and “free-spirited”, and not like anyone he had ever dated. If you listened to her talk, she had been an artist’s model and into the punk scene in the ’80s, had been at this concert and that protest and followed this band and that band..you get the idea. Very liberal. Very artsy.

    Like the OP, one day I took off a layer of clothing to reveal a small tattoo on my shoulder, and she went absolutely batshit insane. I heard through the grapevine that she had complained to her boyfriend, who was extremely surprised to hear that she had such an issue with a small tattoo, given her artistic and musical background.

    Eventually it came out that it was all a lie. Lots of exaggerations. Dates didn’t line up. To this day, I can’t imagine how hard that must have been to keep up those lies for as long as she did. There were no protests, no hanging out with the local punk musicians. Being an artist’s model was one photograph in a bathing suit. It was actually really sad; she made up all of this stuff to date this guy, and it all came crashing down. I don’t work there anymore so I don’t know what’s happened to her, but I did hear that their breakup was huge and spectacular.

    Makes me wonder what sort of ruse OP’s Carol has going!

    1. Dust Bunny*

      . . . and then to blow your cover over such a tiny thing. I mean, even if I really did object to tattoos, I think I would be able to keep my mouth shut to keep the charade going.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I’m glad I came back here this morning and saw this. I’m screaming inside with glee, your Carole would have gotten taken for a ride when she started this nonsense around me. I blend in well but I did grow up with that background [minus protests, I don’t protest for various personal reasons].

      What a sad world to live in, to build yourself up just to smash it so quickly over someone’s skin art. Unless someone takes off their shirt and revels their klans membership, it just is a Tuesday. And if they are reveling inappropriate tattoos the response is to run it up the flagpole of “Dude, FYI, Kelly has a racist tattoo, you may want to ask them to cover that sh*t up before someone else sees it.”

  67. No Green No Haze*

    I believe I am most in awe of this:

    Carol went off on Jane about my “continued and blatant” lack of professionalism

    OP just CONTINUES TO HAVE SKIN ON HER ARMS Carol doesn’t like. And on a job site too!!! The horror!

  68. Verde*

    I love this so much. As a person with tattoos, and they’re not small, who also does very professional-type work, I love that it’s really a non-issue. Bye, Carol!!

  69. fogharty*

    Could Jane be the start of an annual AAM Best Boss of the Year? To counteract, you know, the Worst Boss?

    Or would there not be enough of a candidate pool?

  70. aa*

    I have a feeling that Carol wouldn’t have minded so much if it was a man who had visible tattoos.

  71. The Tattooed LW*

    Since several people have commented…

    Our chastising was fairly mild, and somewhat exasperated, more along the lines of “Guys, if I’d known about this sooner, I could have dealt with it sooner.” And it was mostly meant for the three senior employees, who have been with the company for years. I got a pass for being “too new to know any better, but they should have.” Day to day we’re pretty autonomous, so the addition of a workroom supervisor doesn’t really change things, but is clearly meant as backup for the kind of occasion where being able to swing a ‘supervisor’ title around would be handy. I was pretty impressed with the way the whole thing was handled. Jane said in my interview that she’s very protective of her team, (this is the reason I thought she’d be responsive if I went to her about it) and definitely demonstrated that in this episode.

    As for Carol, I just don’t know. I got the sense that it was personal-that is, my tattoos bothered her for personal reasons, not religious or moral reasons. I also got the impression that there was a fair amount of ‘I know I’m right, why aren’t you bowing to my superior wisdom?’ involved as well. The Glassdoor review was vague accusations of unprofessionalism, and unresponsiveness by senior staff to employee concerns. I was kind of impressed, actually-she made it sound like we were having orgies on our breaks and eating puppies for lunch, without ever once coming out and *saying* what we were doing that was so unprofessional.

    1. Michaela Westen*

      Awesome, awesome, awesome. :) I wonder if it would be possible for someone from your company to put a contrasting or rebuttal review on GlassDoor? Though if there are already several positive reviews, users will probably just ignore Carol’s.
      Congrats on getting a job with such great managers! I got my first really good job eight years ago. It’s so good to have. :)

    2. babblemouth*

      Thank you for the update LW!
      Was Carol weird about anything else, or what this nonsense limited to your tattoos only?

    3. C.U. Later, Alligator*

      You absolutely can and should post a rebuttal to Carol’s Glassdoor “review.”


      You can create an account as a current employee, explain in factual terms what happened, and make sure that folks looking at your employer’s reviews in the future know they are a good place to work for and some people’s definition of “unprofessional” is likely closer to “my asinine and archaic notions of what is allowed in public took the form of harassing and bullying my coworkers trying to get them to conform to my opinions. I was told to stop bullying others, so I quit rather than consider that maybe I was the one being a total asshat.”

  72. Best Boss*

    You know how we do the “worst boss” voting each year? I would like to suggest this get voted “best boss” or at least “best update.”

  73. Tom*

    I would love to see this review.

    People at Tattoos-R-Us are showing tattoos in the stockroom, the loading dock and while working in hot conditions and absolutely refuse to dress up in HazMat suits in order to keep me from being offended.
    After complaining to one tattooed woman for weeks on end, she suddenly told me to shut up, and the week after the manager told me the same. I refuse to work for such unprofessional bullies.

  74. ArtK*

    I can’t wait until this shows up on some listicle: “The 20 most bizarre work meltdowns!” with the obligatory “… and you won’t believe what happened next!”

  75. Database Developer Dude*

    This one really struck a chord with me about personal whims. First of all, Carol wasn’t even a boss, so had no right to impose anything in the first place. She is a nutcase, plain and simple. The tattoo thing is because it’s something she doesn’t like. There’s nothing unprofessional about it.

    There exists a larger discussion here. Professional seems to mean “whatever the boss says it means”. I’m in the Army Reserve, and across all three components, even though the regulations allow it, officers are not supposed to have mustaches…it’s considered unprofessional, even if the mustache is completely within regs. No one can articulate WHY it’s unprofessional. That drives me up the wall.

  76. Phy*

    I wish there was a poll for most satisfying update each year like there is for worst boss. I think this one would have to be up there.

  77. Crooked Bird*

    Out of all the hot mess of Carol’s attitude, it’s the “continued and blatant” quote that’s funniest to me… “She keeps repeatedly and daily CHOOSING to have tattoos!”

  78. nodramalama*

    what the ever loving. I have never heard of someone having such an overreaction to a tattoo. So glad to hear your workplace handled it that well!

  79. theelephantintheroom*

    Amazing. I can’t believe she QUIT HER JOB because SOMEONE ELSE has tattoos.

  80. Jennifer Hudgens*

    That is awesome!!! Sounds like your company handled this perfectly. Even though I myself prefer to be non- tattoo’ed, I would not dream of telling other people what to do with their own body-especially at work! This lady sounds like a real nut.

Comments are closed.