Hello all, it's Red Rider here again. I've been meaning to write in for awhile now, but have been super busy lately. There have been some major changes of late at the Bullseye where I work, and most of my awesome managers have been transferred to other stores and replaced almost overnight!
My awesome and approachable HR head is gone as well as two sales-floor managers that I absolutely adored. Apparently the higher-ups at corporate like to "switch things up" from time to time to keep us lowly slaves on our toes. I seriously don't understand the need for a complete management overhaul like this since we're one of the top stores in the district, but it's not really my place to question the decision I suppose.
The sales-floor managers have already been permanently replaced (one seems nice, the other will be discussed more later), and we have a temp HR guy filling in until a permanent replacement is found. This story isn't exactly about the new management, but it definitely comes into play in the situation I'm now in.
I've been at Bullseye for over a year and a half (surprisingly this makes me one of the more "senior" team members which is fairly ridiculous honestly), and I basically work in 3 areas: sales-floor (softlines), pricing team, and Food Avenue (the little crappy cafe most Bullseye's have) with a bit of training in other areas as well. I've worked primarily in the Bullseye cafe for the last year, and I've been pierced (3 holes on each ear, the bottom ones stretched to a 00gauge size/about 10mm) since I started. When I first trained over there, I was told that my piercings wouldn't be a problem and I could just wear stud earrings and plugs in the bottom holes on days that I worked in the cafe. This was also repeated in the online training guide I had to read and be tested on to get my serve-safe certification. I will repeat: I worked cafe for over a year and piercings were not a problem! The other people in the cafe even wore earrings as well. Cue new management and suddenly I can't wear earrings anymore.
The first I heard of this problem was a few weeks after the new managers had started, I was told my earrings were a "health hazard" because they could fall in the food. I explained that I couldn't take out the top ones in my cartilage, because they'd close up almost immediately (my body tends to reject piercings) and was told that was fine I could keep them in, but I had to wear bandaids over my ears whenever I worked then. I did that the day something was initially said to me, and realized how completely stupid that was. 1. Band-aids are much more likely to fall off into the food than stud earrings are, and 2. When do people wear band-aids? When they have open wounds of course. So basically customers are seeing me looking like I tried to pull a Van Gogh and chop my ears off, and assuming I have open/unclean wounds around their food. On top of that, I'm poor and seriously can't afford to buy the amount of bandaids it would take to cover my ears up 3 per ear the 5 or 6 days a week that I work in the cafe (seriously that's over a box a week).
I went home frustrated, told my husband, and he was livid. He claimed since it hadn't been a problem before they couldn't force me to do anything with them, it could be considered as discrimination and said I should make a huge fuss over it. I didn't of course, but the next time I worked it got worse. I was approached while I was working by one of the new managers, we'll call her IceQueen who I had never even spoken to before that day and the following exchange took place:
IceQueen: "I don't think we've met yet, I'm IceQueen one of the new managers and you must be Red Rider, hello. Anyway, I need you to take out your earrings for me."
Me: "I already explained that I can't, because they'll close up."
IceQueen: "Well then you can't work cafe anymore. In refusing to remove your earrings, you're basically refusing to meet your core job roles over here which is technically insubordination."
Me: "Wait, what? I'm not refusing anything, I can take out the bottom 2 piercings if you want but the top ones will close within an hour if I take them out."
IceQueen: "You can't work over here anymore then, you'll have to work in another area of the store."
Me: *Looking visibly upset, because cafe is where I get almost all of my hours*
IceQueen: "Now, I'm not saying your hours will be cut, but hours this time of year are pretty scarce in other areas of the store. I suggest you think on it."
With that she walked away, leaving me trying (and failing to hold back tears) at my post in the cafe. She didn't take me off to the side to discuss this or anything so cafe customers, and a few of my coworkers who were over there on their breaks heard the entire exchange. I immediately ran to the back to do some dishes and get myself together so I didn't burst into tears in front of customers. My coworkers who overheard thought it was completely unprofessional of her to basically threaten me in front of customers, and urged me to go to HR and report her. When I told my husband about it later, he urged me to do the same.
My hours have definitely been screwy lately. One week they'll be normal, and the next I'll have literally one 4 hour shift (which sucks since my commute is 2 hours each way by bus). I'm keeping an eye on it, but it seems to be becoming a pattern of every other week having to fight for shifts. I don't want to cause trouble, but if this keeps up I'm going to need a new job.
So here's my dillemma RHU, how should I handle this situation? I looked at my schedule for next week, and I'm scheduled in another area of the store but with about the same number of hours. I don't really want to make a huge fuss or anything unless my hours start to get cut. The HR guy is new and just a temp, so even if I felt comfortable approaching him with the situation (which I don't) he'd leave, and I'd still be stuck with IceQueen as a manager. I feel like I already made a bad first impression on her, which is pretty upsetting.
Apparently a lot of my coworkers already dislike IceQueen, because of the way she talks to people. She rubs just about everyone the wrong way. I really just want to get this situation resolved with as little drama as possible, so what should I do (if anything)?