Can You Have a Lip Piercing if You Work as a Waitress?

Your new piercing could jeopardize your job -- or hurt your tips.
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As a waitress, it's your smile and service that keep customers coming back, and you might think a lip piercing is a great way to make that smile stand out a little more. Lip rings and other facial piercings can be a fun way to express yourself, but not all restaurants -- or customers -- will welcome your new adornment with open arms. Before you head out and get your lip pierced, make sure it's okay with the restaurant owner or manager.

The Law

    A number of federal laws are in place that protect employees from workplace discrimination, but none apply to workers with facial piercings and other body modifications. As a result, it might be challenging to find a restaurant that lets you sport your lip ring on the job. In the past, some states have even tried to ban restaurant workers from having facial piercings. However, those attempts failed, and as of 2013, there are no states that strictly prohibit waitresses and other foodservice workers from having piercings as long as employers approve them.

Dress Code Policies

    All restaurant owners and managers are allowed to set a dress code policy and request employee compliance. Many specifically note whether or not facial piercings are allowed in the dress code guidelines. If you're not sure if piercings are acceptable at your restaurant, ask your supervisor. If piercings are allowed, you should have no issues and are safe to take the plunge and get your lip pierced. However, if your restaurant prohibits facial piercings, you could face termination for failing to comply with company policy.

Customer Reactions

    As a waitress, you work in a customer-oriented environment every day, and the amount of money you make is based significantly on the service you provide and customers' opinions of you. Realize that not all people are accepting of body modifications, and some people heavily judge those who sport facial piercings or tattoos. While some customers might love your lip ring and think it makes you unique, others may feel uncomfortable looking at it -- and tip less as a result. Consider the environment of your restaurant. If you mostly serve a crowd filled with customers sporting modifications of their own, your piercing shouldn't have a negative impact. However, if you work in a more upscale dining establishment, customers may see your lip ring as unprofessional.

Tips and Considerations

    Before you get pierced, talk to your boss and see if you can reach some form of compromise. For example, offer to wear a clear retainer once your lip piercing has healed and it's safe to change the jewelry. Alternatively, you may opt for a small post or barbell rather than a large hoop to minimize the appearance of your piercing.

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