Sheetz drops policy against employees with ‘obvious missing, broken, or badly discolored teeth’

Febraury 3, 2023

Sheetz—a U.S. chain of convenience stores and coffee shops owned by the Sheetz family and based in Altoona, Pennsylvania—has announced that it is dropping its policy against hiring employees with dental issues after Business Insider’s coverage of the rule and its effect on the company’s retail workers.

“Recently through employee feedback, we have learned that the smile policy is not aligned with these values from their perspective,” Stephanie Doliveira, executive vice president of People & Culture at Sheetz, told Insider.

“We agree. Effective immediately, this policy is discontinued,” Doliveira said. “We are committed to ensuring our policies moving forward are equitable and celebrate the diverse experiences, individual identities and unique perspectives of our employees.”

The convenience-store chain changed its policy after Insider reported on its inclusion in Sheetz’s employee handbook. The rule stated that “applicants with obvious missing, broken, or badly discolored teeth (unrelated to a disability) are not qualified for employment with Sheetz.” The handbook also gave workers already employed at Sheetz 90 days to comply with the policy.

Insider also spoke with former employees who were affected by the policy. One quit her job after a manager asked for details about her missing teeth and her plans for dental work. Another decided not to pursue a promotion after a manager told them that the employee’s discolored teeth would make it impossible. Both asked to remain anonymous because they feared damaging their job prospects. Insider verified their work histories.

“Our culture at Sheetz has always been centered on respect and putting our employees, customers and communities first,” Doliveira told Insider. “As a family owned and operated company, nothing is more important than creating an environment that is inclusive and supportive of all of our employees.”

Sheetz has better benefits than many rival retailers—such as 12 weeks of maternity leave and reimbursement for college tuition—employees told Insider. That made the company’s policy “weirdly over the top for them,” one former employee said.

Research contact: @BusinessInsider