Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Government slammed for “cop out” response to dress code laws

iStock-536680506.jpg

The government has rejected a campaign calling for a ban on archaic dress codes which state employers can force women to wear heels to work.

This means that employers can continue to demand female staff wear heels, as long as they are considered a requirement of their role, and that men at the company are made to dress to an “equivalent level of smartness”.

The government refused to change the existing legislation on the grounds that it is “adequate” and already prevents companies from making any gender-based discrimination.

Instead, it will be issuing a new set of guidelines on dress codes over the summer.

The controversial move comes just over a year after a woman was sent home from work without pay for refusing to wear high heels. 

Nicola Thorp was dismissed on her first day as a temporary receptionist at PriceWaterHouseCooper because she refused to purchase a pair of two to four inch heels to replace the flat shoes she had turned up in.

Nicola Thorp with the flat shoes she wore to PWC

Nicola Thorp with the flat shoes she wore to PWC

Rightly furious, Thorp set up a petition to change the “sexist” dress code law, and rapidly gained more than 152,400 signatures.

However, despite giving evidence before the Petitions and Women and Equalities Committees in March, alongside a black woman who had been forced to chemically straighten her hair to work at Harrods, the petition has now been rejected.

The government will instead issue new guidelines over the summer with the aim of improving workers’ awareness of their rights.


Read more: What did the men of Stylist REALLY think about walking in heels?


A Government spokesperson told The Telegraph, “No employer should discriminate against workers on grounds of gender – it is unacceptable and is against the law. Dress codes must include equivalent requirements for both men and women.

"To make the law clearer to employers and raise awareness among employees, the Government will be producing new guidance on workplace dress codes.”

heels

Unsurprisingly, the ruling has proved controversial, with Thorp telling the BBC it was “a cop out”.

"It shouldn't be down to people like myself," she said. "The government should take responsibility and put it in legislation.”

And in a statement, Maria Miller, the chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, described the current equality legislation as “not sufficient to achieve equality in practice”.

"This petition, and the committees' inquiry, have reinforced the need for effective enforcement of legislation and for employers and employees to be aware of their obligations and rights,” she added.

"We welcome the commitments made by the Government to increasing awareness of those rights, and hope that the next Government will monitor how this changes women's experiences of the workplace."

Images: iStock, RexFeatures

Related

lisa wilkinson 2.jpg

Newsreader has best response to being shamed for wearing same top

iStock-515643880.jpg

Lucy Mangan on why feeling beautiful starts with your thoughts

rexfeatures_7423134g.jpg

Hillary Clinton models kickass shoes designed for her by Katy Perry

Comments

More

Primark is dropping a wedding range just in time for ‘I do’ season

The brand released a preview on social media

by Amy Swales
28 Apr 2017

This summer’s biggest sell-out item is finally back in stock

Get thee to the shops, stat

by Kayleigh Dray
28 Apr 2017

Instagram has fallen in love with these unusual high street sandals

Expect to see them everywhere this summer...

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Apr 2017

These are the 10 most popular fashion brands on social media right now

From Nike to Chanel

by Moya Crockett
27 Apr 2017

Unusual wedding dresses for beautifully bold brides

The best dress and accessories inspo at Bridal Fashion Week

by Amy Swales
27 Apr 2017

Elisabeth Moss' secret tribute to The Handmaid’s Tale on red carpet

Did you spot her outfit’s hidden symbolism?

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Apr 2017

Ikea issues hilarious response to Balenciaga’s £1,670 copy cat bags

Touché.

by Sarah Biddlecombe
26 Apr 2017

Behold Christian Louboutin’s colour-changing unicorn boots

This is love at first sight

by Sarah Biddlecombe
26 Apr 2017

This Primark item is going for over double its original price on eBay

Do you own the must-have high street number?

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Apr 2017

Balenciaga is selling a £1,670 version of the big blue Ikea bag

The designer brand isn’t the first to take style inspiration from carrier bags.

by Moya Crockett
20 Apr 2017