06/17/2014 08:00 EDT | Updated 08/17/2014 05:59 EDT

Edmonton Woman Petitions In Support Of Piercings, Tattoos At Work

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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 what she calls “self-expression.”

However, she believes her appearance has cost her jobs in the past –something she is now hoping 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 straight forward.

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.

“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,” he said. “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 in order to ensure employees appear professional and don’t alienate customers.

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