Edmonton woman's petition supports piercings, tattoos at work

An Edmonton woman is fighting for the right to proudly display her facial piercings without fear of professional punishment.

Online petition against workplace discrimination has hundreds of signatures

Kendra Behringer of Edmonton has started an online petition that would make it illegal to not hire someone based on hair colour, haircut, tattoos or piercings. (CBC)

An Edmonton woman is fighting for the right to proudly display her facial piercings without fear of professional punishment.

Kendra Behringer has pierced her ears, eyebrows and lips in an act of "self-expression.”

However, she believes her appearance has cost her jobs, something she hopes to change by launching a petition slamming workplace discrimination against tattooed and pierced employees.

“You never know how good someone's going to be at the job, unless you look at their credentials instead of just looking at their face.”

Hundreds have already signed the online petition, which moves to make it illegal to not hire someone based on hair colour, haircut, tattoos or piercings.

However, Hilary Predy with Adecco, which helps clients hire staff, said it is not that straightforward.

While she says clients are more accepting of visible modifications now than they have been in the past, it is still important for prospective employees to consider the tone and environment of a workplace when applying for a job.

“When people involve themselves with larger piercings, larger tattoos, they are probably going to be looking at a different type of environment, a different type of clientele,” she said.

Kellan Moore said his workplace has a dress code prohibiting visible tattoos, and he has no problem with that. (CBC)

“People make a conscious choice, they make a personal choice when they have a tattoo or a piercing. They know it is not something that is readily acceptable by everybody in the community.”

Predy also said that in some workplaces, large piercings can also present a safety risk.

Predy’s sentiments were echoed by Kellan Moore, who recently added a new tattoo on his arm.

Even before getting the new ink, Moore said he would need to cover it up to keep his job.

“It's a personal choice to get any kind of body modification, whether it be a tattoo or a piercing, but it's a risk that you take if you go a little too crazy.”

Moore said it’s fair for employers to impose dress or modification codes to ensure employees appear professional and don’t alienate customers.

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