DEAR ABBY: I have an attractive friend who was bypassed for a front-office promotion. "Miranda" is pleasant, clean, efficient, energetic and had the same qualifications as the individual who was promoted. A management team member confided that the reason for Miranda's lack of advancement "might" be due to the numerous tattoos -- difficult to cover -- on her arms and wrists, which the manager said isn't the image the business wants to convey.
Is this discrimination? I think it's unfair because Miranda is a good worker. She keeps asking me if I have any ideas why she was bypassed. Should I tell her? I don't want to violate the manager's faith in my confidentiality, even though I will be retiring soon. -- LOYAL FRIEND IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR LOYAL FRIEND: Your friend's obvious tattoos prevent her from presenting the corporate image your employer prefers be conveyed to clients who visit the front office. To my knowledge, people with tattoos are not members of a protected class, which would put an employer at risk for a discrimination suit.
Because Miranda continues to ask why she wasn't promoted, and you have nothing to lose by telling her what you were told, I think you should level with her. She might prefer to work at a company where her chances for advancement aren't stymied.