Former Claire’s Employee Speaks Out Against Forced Piercing
Raylene Marks, a former Claire's employee, had some harsh words for her employer regarding their policies for piercing the ears of children.
Claire took to Facebook with an open letter about her experience and what ultimately led her to leave the accessory giant.
She begins her letter by explaining that a 7-year-old girl and her mother come in for a piercing. Marks was asked to assist with this piercing as the girl appeared nervous and likely to not want the 2nd ear done after the first, so per procedure employees would double team to do the piercings at the same time. This girl didn't just seem uneasy, however. Marks describes the girl as pleading and sobbing for a half hour begging for her ears not to be pierced. She noted the mother pressuring her daughter to get the piercings. The girl continued to beg her mother to take her home and begged the employees not to touch her.
Thankfully, after a struggle, the mother allowed the girl to leave Claire's without the piercing.
The following day Marks and her manager discussed the situation. Marks explained that she wouldn't have been able to complete the piercing even if Mom had insisted on it. The manager's response?
You would have had no choice but to do it.
The manager then confirmed Marks' fear, even if the mother was physically holding the girl down, she would have to complete the piercing as requested by the parent, ignoring the child's pleas to stop.
Marks gave her notice after that conversation as she couldn't work for a company that required her to ignore the will of a child about to undergo a body modification.
There does not appear to be any specific policy from Clarie's regarding physical restraint or forced piercing, nothing regarding the child's emotional welfare. The only policies found addressing not following through with a piercing was in regards to the employee's safety, not the one being pierced.
Marks ended her letter by begging Claire's to do better and to support the body autonomy of a child.
In an update two weeks ago, Marks noted a representative from Claire's reached out to her via Facebook. Claire's said an investigation would be done but no confirmation of that has been provided. She encourages anyone who witnesses such practices as a Claire's to call 1-800-CLAIRES with information about the incident.
What do you think? Should parents be able to force their kids into having piercings? Should an employee be able to deny their service? Do kids have full body autonomy?