ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Lolita Dash recently went on leave after her bosses said her inch-long nails violated the local postmaster's rule that nails can't extend more than a quarter-inch beyond the fingertip.
"Why should the focus be on nails and not mail?" asked Dash, 36, a customer service supervisor who has worked for the post office since 1986. "I have been working with them safely."
Dash, who once had 5-inch thumbnails and took up to two hours to paint and decorate her nails, says her problems began in 1995 when a new postmaster instituted the rule, citing safety concerns. She cut her nails the next year.
She soon let her nails grow to about an inch long. In March, her bosses began disciplinary proceedings. Within days, she went on medical leave and has not returned--even though she had her nails cut to conform to the rule.