Careers > House of Commons take action against high heel sexism in the workplace

Posted on February 1, 2017
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Gregory Ledniowski discusses whether it is legal or fair to enforce strict dress codes at work

A recent report by the House of Commons called “High heels and workplace dress codes” recommends that the government takes action on whether bosses have the right to tell women what they can and cannot wear at work.

The MPs report recommends a publicity campaign be launched to ensure that employers know their legal obligations that workers know how they can complain effectively and know their rights.

A recent case involves Ms Nicola Thorpe. While working as a receptionist in London, she was sent home for wearing flats and not heels. She opened a petition at the start of 2016 to make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work against their will. Her petition received a staggering 152,420 signatures and the case is currently to be reviewed.

But is it illegal to ask a woman to wear high heels at work?

“This may have started over a pair of high heels, but what it has revealed about discrimination in the UK workplace is vital, as demonstrated by the hundreds of women who came forward via the committees’ online forum,” Ms Thorp said.

The House of Commons report suggests the Equality Act of 2010 should ban discriminatory dress rules at work. In practice the current law is not applied properly, and does not protect workers of either gender.

“A dress code including high heels reeks of sexism. High heels should be a choice, not a requirement,” says Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trade Union Congress.

What I think
I am appalled by how some women are being treated at work.

Although women in the 21st Century have much more freedom than before, it seems that we still have a long way to go.

Everyone has a right to wear what they want as this makes us all individuals. I think that some sort of dress code should exist, but it should be flexible and within reason.

It is a shame that women and men are not being treated in the same way and this should change. After all we are not living in the dark ages!

Do not be afraid to stand up to your rights as we are each our own person.

Gregory Ledniowski
Gregory enjoys sharing his opinions with others. His main interests include media, art and drama. He is currently an aspiring actor.


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One Response to House of Commons take action against high heel sexism in the workplace

  1. Cara June 26, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    Great article. It’s so enraging that women still get treated like, this, the law still hasn’t been made to make it illegal.

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