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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 3:19 pm 
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Letter to the Editor in the 9/12/06 issue:

To the Editor:

This is an experience I went through at (the) Harley-Davidson plant in Tomahawk.

I was hired by Allied Barton Security on March 20, 2006 (which Allied is contracted through Harley-Davidson, for security).
Around the middle of May, I was approached by my supervisor. He told me that the tattoo on my left forearm would be a problem. (The tattoo is of a heart with my wife’s name in it.) I never missed work, and I was never late.

Near the end of May, I was told that I would either have to bandage my arm, or wear a long sleeve winter uniform shirt. From April through June, all security had at least three meetings with supervisors from Milwaukee; nothing was ever mentioned about tattoos. Nothing is written in the handbook, and none of the guards have ever heard of any such policy, especially working at Harley-Davidson.

At the end of June, I was asked to turn in my short sleeve shirts. The regulation uniform sheet stated short sleeve shirts were part of the summer uniform. On July 6, I was called at home, to come to my supervisor’s office. He told me I would be suspended if I continue to wear short sleeve. I said I would agree to wear a lightweight long sleeve shirt. He told me that Harley-Davidson supplied the uniforms.

The supervisor was waiting for me in the parking lot on July 7. He told me that I couldn’t work in short sleeve. He asked me if I had any intention of covering my tattoo. I said no and he fired me, at that time.

I couldn’t believe Harley-Davidson would allow this through their management of their contractors, of wanting this image of anti-tattoo. I e-mailed a few of management at Harley-Davidson, and I was contacted by one individual in management, from Harley, and he asked why I wouldn’t cover my tattoo? I told him there are areas in the plant that get to 100 degrees in the summer, and the other reason, what’s right is right. Which I felt Harley-Davidson would understand, but I was wrong, for I never heard from him again.

Until my time of termination, nothing was ever done to other employees, male or female, concerning tattoos. Other employees have worked for years with exposed tattoos, prior to this incident.

I have documentation and e-mails from fellow employees substantiating the facts here.

Through all of this I have lost much respect for Harley-Davidson. I use to associate honor, integrity and the American way with the name of Harley-Davidson. I know Allied Barton is the technical employer, but Harley-Davidson plays the role of a big brother to them. What is right?

Thank you for your time

David Knapp
Tomahawk


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 6:57 pm 
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David,
You admit that you never worked for Harley-Davidson so why are you dragging them into your problem? You're no different than the guy who plows the snow or hauls the waste - an employee of a contractor and, I'll assume, non-union. Since you aren't an employee of Harley and never were, they don't have any responsibility for what your employer does nor do they have any right or duty to interfere. In fact, doing so would probably be grounds for Harley to get sued for breach of contract.
Next time, even if you think your supervisor is wrong and you feel you're getting shafted, you should follow his/her direction until you can either learn to live with the rules or find a different job.
Of course, you can always hire an attorney...

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 12:40 pm 
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I think what he was getting at was that it WAS ultimately the policy, and the call, of Harley-Davidson and NOT the policy of the security company. That's the impression that I get.

Of course he is responsible for following the rules of his immediate employer (the security company), but it sounds to me like the problem is the double-standard involved.

Overall though, I agree with Brian.. they gave the rules, and if you choose not to follow them you gotta go.
Do I agree with the rule? no. Did David handle it in the right way? no.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 3:18 pm 
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Quote:
I think what he was getting at was that it WAS ultimately the policy, and the call, of Harley-Davidson and NOT the policy of the security company. That's the impression that I get.
I think that's the impression he'd like people to have but I just don't see any facts that back him up. Harley hires a contractor to provide a service - the contractor provides the service and sets their own rules. Think of it this way: Let's say that H-D (or Nelson's County Market for that matter) hires a roofing company to patch the roof or an asphalt company to work on the parking lot and one of those crew members came in drunk, called in sick once too often or (insert infraction here) and got themselves canned how would the firing be H-D's fault? The employee got canned by the company HE worked for NOT by the company his COMPANY worked for. The work rules are set and enforced by his own employer.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 12:32 pm 
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Last edited by Dopey Dwarf on Mon May 25, 2009 1:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 2:54 pm 
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As Brian said, He did not work for Harley-Davidson ! ! ! He worked for a contract security company, and the supervisor for the contract security company is the one that fired him. Harley-Davidson had nothing to do with it. They did not set the rules, they did not have anything to do with enforcing them. They only hired a contract employer to provide security and it was their rules that he violated. :roll:

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 5:31 am 
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Do you remember when Walmart was found guilty of having Ileagle mexicans cleaning their stores but they claimed they were not at fault because it was a contracted company.They Lost.
Harley always claims to be a big supporter of diversity and yet allows open discrimination go on inside their factory plain and simple.
The Tattoo in question was not racial or offencive in any way unless you consider a Eagle offencive.
This kind of thing went out in the 50s and Harley does own some of the fault.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:56 am 
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Would Harley-Davidson turn away a customer who was all tattoed up? I think not. If so they would have gone bankrupt a long time ago. They should have at least stood up for the man who was fired for not covering his tattoo. Shame on Harley-Davidson for that one.
I know from looking at the photos on the site of the Tomahawk Leader and my mother that there was a bike rally there several weeks ago. I am sure that there were several people riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles and from the photos that I saw at least 95% of them had at least one tattoo.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 5:10 pm 
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Sorry guys, but I have to agree with the fact that Harley is in no way connected to this issue. The guy works for a contractor. Harley puts certain requirements on their contractors I'm sure (as do all other big companies) but beyond that it isn't their problem (which is a big part of the reason to hire a contractor in the first place.

Who ever this was decided they didn't think they needed to listen to their manager and they were fired over it. Case closed, too bad! It's not any different than complaining about County Market if you get fired for violating one of Nelson's policies...


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:19 pm 
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If your immediate employer say's you can't have visible tattoos, you CAN'T.HAVE.VISIBLE.TATTOOS.

If it's SILLY.... that you can't have visible tattoos (which it was), there is a different way to go about showing the fact that you are in disagreement with it.

<small>[ October 17, 2006, 06:19 PM: Message edited by: abnerman ]</small>

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