A Calgary woman is raising more than an eyebrow after her workplace threatened to fire her for wearing a facial piercing.
Crystal Saundry, who said she has worked at the Forest Lawn Co-op grocery store for eight months, said she finds it baffling her bosses have a problem with her discreet eyebrow piercing when employees at several locations, including her’s, are not given grief for wearing tongue-rings, nose rings, and oodles of earrings.
“They are fine with people having 50 different earrings in both ears, a tongue ring in my tongue, a nose ring in my nose but I’m not allowed to have a tiny eyebrow ring,” the 22-year-old said.
“They hire people who don’t speak a word of English who can’t help people and yet they do this to a good employee.”
Calgary Co-op communications manager Kendall Pew wouldn’t comment, explaining he “cannot discuss personnel matters publicly.”
But Pat Rose with the Union of Calgary Co-op Employees said a company policy does not permit a brow piercing.
The only facial piercing allowed is a nose stud which must be less than 3mm in size.
Still Rose said a grievance can be filed to challenge the decision this week by Saundry’s bosses to suspend her and threaten to fire her if she shows up for her next shift with the jewelry in her brow.
“Some of Calgary Co-op’s policies are so draconian,” Rose said.
“It’s like they are not in the 21st Century.”
Tom Hesse, negotiator with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union representing Safeway and Superstore workers said the case is a joke.He said it’s an example of “pale, male and stale” attitudes in some workplaces.
He could understand if someone showed up to work like “tackle-box boy with his face laden with piercings” but said it’s nonsense when an innocuous brow ring’s involved.“Invariably, some of the rules have no orientation in business logic, it’s just some old-school guy who says ‘There won’t be any G.D. piercings in my workplace,” Hesse said.“Even from a practical point of view, in this labour market if you are not flexible with young people then don’t go and complain you are unable to attract workers.”Saundry said she initially complied with bosses’ orders to cover up the jewelry with a bandage but stopped when the adhesive led to an infection.
Now, because of that, and on principle she said she is considering what to do in light of feeling unfairly treated.
“I don’t want to lose my job,” she said, adding her thick bangs largely cover the controversial jewelry.
“But they can’t afford to be so picky if they are so desperate for staff.”
Union officials said Saundry can take the jewelry out and grieve the policy or keep it in, get fired and grieve it then.