I am an insurance agent w one employee. I didn't know the employee had tatoos when I hired her because she had long sleeves and long skirt. Ater she was hired I told her bcause she interacts with customers she has to wear a jacket out of respect for customers. She has both arms completely coverd. Then one day she came in with both hands covered. Then the back of her neck. She has worked for me 4 years now. One day she was at a tatoo show and came to work and said I was going to get a temporary tatoo on my face and see if you would be shocked. I said you come inw a facial tatoo and you don't work here anymore. I have had to remind her many times about keeping a sweater on when cutomers come in. Now one day ago, she came in with flower tatoos on her right temple which I saw later in the day because I was out in the field. Can I fire her for adding yet another tatoo let alone on her face now when she works with the public every day. I am so mad! She sits in front of my office and when I pass her I don't see her right side. It faces the cabinets. She doesn't know I saw it on Friday when she was talking to a customer. I was so shocked and insulted that she did this. It was like a slap in my face. Our office is slow and I haven't cut her hours because I know she needs the money. Why would she do this. She probably thinks I can't do anything about it because I don't have a written policy!
She is an employee "at will" and as her employer you have the right to terminate her at any time for any reason and unless she can prove that you were discriminating against her due to race, gender, age (over 40), religion, disability or sexual orientation, then she has no claim for wrongful termination against her. As an employer who works with a certain demographic of the public (middle age to elderly people) you have every right to require that your employees look and act in a certain way because it is crucial to your business. That being said, you have tolerated this for 4 years and if you do terminate her she may be able to collect unemployment by claiming that she had the tattoos when hired and she has done a good job (as shown by the fact that you have kept her employed for so long). With the unemployment department, they will look for a genuine reason for termination and she may be able to get around them with her claim of lengthy employment so "it can't be the tattoos at this point". So, you can terminate her tomorrow if you so choose to do that and she will have no claim for wrongful termination but she could claim unemployment and then unemployment will call you and you will give your valid reasons for the dismissal (she is basically insubordinate when she continues to get tattoos in visible places that cannot be covered easily when you have asked her not to do so AND the times that she does not wear the long clothing to cover the tattoos as you have asked) and then they will decide whether to give her the unemployment comp - the end result of which is that your unemployment comp payment to the state's find may increase a few dollars each year for a few years because the more people that collect from your business, the higher the amount that you pay. Your other choice here is to keep her employed and start to document each time this happens and each time it does you issue her a written warning with the date and your signature and her signature (or if she refuses to sign you can write "refused to sign" on it) and then once you get to the third or fourth warning -- then you terminate her and you are covered in the event she tries to get unemployment comp (unless the unemployment dept suddenly decides that discrimination against tattoos is a payable termination cause -- which I somehow doubt will happen anytime soon!). I also suggest that you give written notice that warnings will be issued if there are any violations of company rules. I cannot write anything up for you or give you language for that or the warnings so I do suggest that you seek out the services of a local employment lawyer to write up these things for you so it is all in compliance with the law in Nevada -- you can find a local attorney by contacting your local county bar association and asking for a few names for referrals to employment lawyers in your area.
I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have further questions.
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I've tolerated the tattoos because she could cover them up. Now that she cannot cover the facial tattoo, when I confront her about the facial tattoo, can I ask her if the tattoo is temporary or permanent. If she says permanent can I say to her "if it is permanent, you just fired yourself"! Can that be the reason for me to let her go. Can I say that to her?
Hello again Sandra --
I am not sure I would put it like that -- but if you have warned her about the tattoo on the face in the past and you ask her if it is permanent and she finally tells you YES, then you have the right to terminate her because she has not been truthful and she continues to be insubordinate by continuing to get tattoos in spots where they cannot be covered adequately. Don't be surprised if she tries the unemployment claim though just because of the length of the employment and as I said earlier it would probably be best to have everything in writing when it comes to dealing with unemployment for an employee with so many years service, Obviously, if you do not care whether or not she collects unemployment then that is not a concern.
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