How High Are Your Heels

Date Added 25.01.17

You may recall that we first reported on this, in our article: Dress Codes, Can an Employer Bring their Employees to Heel? 

This debate, which was sparked by Nicola Thorp, an agency worker who revealed that she had been sent home from the finance company, Price Waterhouse Coopers, without pay for refusing to wear high heels. Since then an inquiry was launched after Ms Thorp started a petition. More than 150,000 people signed the petition calling on parliament to make it illegal for employers to demand women to wear high heels at work. The BBC, reporting on this earlier today received the following quote from Chair of the Petitions Committee, Helen Jones MP, who said: “The way that Nicola Thorp was treated by her employer is against the law, but that didn’t stop her being sent home from work without pay. It’s clear from the stories we’ve heard from members of the public that Nicola’s story is far from unique.” The joint report, High Heels and Workplace Dress Codes, comes from parliamentary committees for Petitions and for Women and Equalities.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident and although the government has said that the actions that prompted the petition, are already unlawful, the committee found that discriminatory dress codes are still an issue in many industries such as retail, hospitality and tourism. The committee has urged the government to substantially increase the penalties for employers found by Employment Tribunals to have breached the law. The Equality Act 2010 seems to be not as effective as it should be in protecting workers from discrimination.

The incident with Ms Thorp has brought to light some troubling rules affecting female workers having to adhere to sexist dress codes. There are examples of workers being instructed to dye their hair, wear revealing outfits and apply a certain amount of make-up.

What does this mean to you?

It is important that any dress code you have in place does not put one sex at a detriment compared to the other. Appropriate dress is essential for many roles, but this has to apply equally to all of your employees whether they are men or women. For more information, please take another look at our article, by clicking on this link:

Need help with your dress code or any other policies and procedures. Talk to Tollers. We are HeRe for you.

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