A petition against a tradition of compelling women in the UK to wear high heels at work has managed to pull in more than 100,000 signatures. The petition was launched by Nicola Thorp on Monday after an incident in December in which she was told that she must wear two to four inches of heels at work when she turned up in flat shoes.
Thorp, 27, was sent back home without pay when she refused to wear heels and asked her employer, consultancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, why men do not have to follow the same rule.
The petition titled “Make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work,” will now be taken up for debate in the parliament. The petition said, “It’s still legal in the UK for a company to require female members of staff to wear high heels at work against their will,” it says. “Dress code laws should be changed so that women have the option to wear flat formal shoes at work if they wish. Current formal work dress codes are out-dated and sexist,” it added.
Thorp said that the condition of wearing heels to work was a part of the female grooming process of the company. The petition seeks to make such practices illegal. “I expressed my confusion as to why,” she was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
“They explained that flat shoes are not part of their dress code for women. The supervisor told me that I would be sent home without pay unless I went to the shop and bought a pair of two to four-inch heels.”
She added, “I refused and was sent home, without pay. When I pointed out that my male colleague was allowed to work in flat shoes, and that I felt that I was being discriminated against, I was laughed at. She said ‘men aren’t used to wearing heels’ – well I’m afraid I’m not, either. I must’ve missed that class at school.”
Thorp, who is also an actress, was employed by Portico as a temporary worker. The company said that Thorp had signed the company guidelines before joining. But Portico also stated that it has now revised its rules allowing female employees to wear flat shoes, the Khaleej Times reported.