A Blackpool woman has launched a petition calling for it to be made illegal to force women to wear high heels at work.
Nicola Thorp has already won widespread support for the cause, after she revealed she was sent home without pay on her first day at a new job after turning up in flat shoes, and refusing to go out and buy a new pair of shoes.
The 27-year-old former Arnold School student was employed in London as a temp by PwC’s outsourced reception firm Portico.
she claims she was told she must wear heels of a height between two and four inches - and was laughed at when she said it was discriminatory to make such a demand.
Ms Thorp also said she was given an ‘acceptable shade’ list of makeups to wear
She told London’s Evening Standard: “When I arrived on site, I was turned away from work because I was not wearing high heels.
“I expressed my confusion as to why, and 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. I refused and was sent home.”
“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. I left feeling upset and confused.”
She has now launched a petition calling for companies to not be allowed to dictate what women must wear.
Her petition, Make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work, states: “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. 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.”
Fleetwood MP Cat Smith, who is the shadow minister for women and equalities, said: “Nicola Thorpe’s experiences in the workplace highlight the outrageous and unreasonable demands made by employers on their women workers.
“A company like PWC should know better and do better by their staff. No woman should be made to dress in a way that makes her feel uncomfortable.
“Whilst I love wearing high heels from time to time, they are responsible for untold damage to women’s feet, backs and the cause of accidents. PWC should think again and review their uniform policy.”
A spokeswoman for PwC said it would be speaking to Portico about its policy – one which was not a PwC policy.
A Portico statement said: “In line with industry standard practice, we have personal appearance guidelines across many of our corporate locations. These policies ensure staff are dressed consistently and include recommendations for appropriate style of footwear for the role.”