Nicola Thorpe, a temp receptionist at PwC, has caused a media frenzy because she was sent home from her position for wearing flats instead of the dress code required by her temp agency of women to wear a two to four inch heeled shoe. She complained that the dress code was discriminatory, since male colleagues were allowed to work in flat shoes.
Her argument has raised a healthy debate for the people across the UK and a petition asking for a change in the law to let women wear flat formal shoes to work has gained over 130,000 signatures. The key point Thorpe makes in this petition is that it is still legal for an employer/business to require female members of staff to wear heels at work against their will; in 2016 shouldn’t we have the right to choose what goes on our feet?
The above case really goes to highlight that ideas of what is appropriate with regard to dress and appearance evolves over time and in this day and age it may no longer be acceptable to require women to wear heels, especially given the increasing focus in the workplace on health, diversity and equality.
Employers are likely to find their dress codes placed under increasing scrutiny as a result of this story and should be prepared to justify any requirements they put on staff. The fact that the temp agency that Ms Thorpe worked for has issued a statement saying that it will be changing its dress code policy “with immediate effect” may be an indication of the changes to come in this area.
Have you got a up to date dress code policy, or is it something you need to take a look at. Give HR Revolution a call today to discuss or download our free Dress Code policy template now.