The usually-well-liked convenience store Sheetz is catching heat for getting rid of an employee who apparently violated their “smile policy” after she says she lost her teeth in an awful domestic attack by her ex-husband!
Rose Marie Counts took to Facebook earlier this month to recount a bad experience she had as a (former) employee at a Sheetz store in Circleville, Ohio. She claims she lost her teeth after her abusive ex-husband knocked them out during a domestic incident. But when she showed up to work as a customer service clerk at the small-town convenience store, she was called in by her boss over it!
In the Facebook post, Counts explained what happened once she got into the store:
“I was asked to come to the office at work. I was nervous I have only been with the company for about a month. When I walked in the office the manager had the company policy pulled up to were it talks about employees appearances. I was informed that policy states all Sheetz employees must have and remain with a perfect beautiful warm welcoming smile. If you are an employee with this company and you break a tooth you have 90 days to have it fixed.”
She went on to explain how her teeth have been an issue for a while — even before she was hired by the store. Still, Sheetz apparently balked that her insurance company wouldn’t pay for temporary dentures until the swelling in her mouth could go down enough to fill in with permanent teeth:
“When I was hired I had no upper teeth. My lower teeth is scheduled to be removed. My insurance will pay for my permanent dentures but they will not pay for a temporary denture. Due to swelling that occurs when teeth are pulled my insurance will not pay for me to have the temporary denture they look at it as a waste of money.”
Then, Counts explained how Sheetz’s “smile policy” strictly defined her look as “unbeautiful.” Thus, she was suddenly unworthy of working in a customer-facing role in the convenience store.
“And even though I am good at my job I can no longer be a frontline employee with the company because of my smile. The company defines my smile as unbeautiful because I still have work that needs to be done on them. So I went to work today and I left work today crying. Why did I leave crying? Because I left my job that I loved that I enjoyed I was happy to be there. But to get told based on my looks that my job is in jeopardy. And that maybe I should fill out paperwork and maybe the company will help me if I tell them my story. They might let me borrow the money to have a temporary denture for me to pay them back the thousands of dollars that it took to buy them.”
According to Insider, Sheetz’s so-called “smile policy” is as follows:
“Applicants with obvious missing, broken, or badly discolored teeth (unrelated to a disability) are not qualified for employment with Sheetz. Sheetz believes that an employee’s smile during interactions with customers and coworkers is critical to creating the sense of hospitality in our stores that we strive for.”
Clearly, Counts has issue with that policy — especially since her teeth were mangled in an alleged domestic abuse incident that she could not control or avoid.
Along with her Facebook post, Counts also came with the receipts. She shared an audio clip of a meeting with her boss, in which the superior explained the “smile policy.” Counts, who is now in a new relationship according to the New York Post, could be heard in the audio clip telling her manager:
“This company has no idea what I’ve been through. I lost these front teeth because my ex-husband headbutted me because I forgot to turn the hall light out. It’s legit, it’s a bad experience that happened in my life that I’m still trying to…”
At that point, she trailed off, and could be heard getting noticeably emotional. The manager responded “that’s fine,” and said she was “so sorry” about Counts’ situation.
Then, the boss said she had been hearing “wonderful things” from customers about Rose Marie. However, the smile policy was a hard-and-fast rule within the company. Frustrated that her toothless smile didn’t meet Sheetz’s expectations, Counts replied:
“I feel like my job performance should be enough. I don’t feel like I should have to justify myself because of my looks.”
Counts then told her boss she would “have to seek other employment” because she no longer wanted to be associated with the convenience store brand. The manager answered:
“That’s understandable. I really am sorry that that’s the way you feel about us.”
On Tuesday, the New York Post reached out to Sheetz’s corporate offices about the incident. The company’s PR manager Nick Ruffner responded with a statement:
“[Sheetz’s] intent has always been to help her and to determine which of our assistance programs may apply to her situation. Our hearts go out to Rose. … Rose is a valued asset to the Sheetz family and we look forward to continuing this conversation with her.”
Ruffner also confirmed Sheetz is reviewing its “smile policy” after receiving complaints from staffers at its other locations. The brand has 650 stores across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina.
The PR flack concluded with an explanation about the company’s sudden choice to review policy:
“[This incident] has prompted a more specific review to ensure our policies are aligned with Sheetz’s commitment to foster a culture of respect. While we have a personal appearance policy that includes dental health, we provide accommodations to the policy that are granted for medical, cultural, and religious reasons. At Sheetz, it is important that we honor and recognize our employees’ diverse experiences, individual identities, and unique perspectives.”
OK… Let’s just hope something good comes from this. Nobody should lose their job because they were abused!!
You can see Rose Marie’s original post over on Facebook.
Reactions, Perezcious readers??
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available. Consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or text START to 88788, or go to .
[Image via Rose Marie Counts//Sheetz/ ]
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