A female receptionist has hit headlines for the sexist treatment she received at a temp job. (Photo: Rex)
In a world where women are still fighting for equality, a company punishing a female employee for not wearing high heels is a massive slap in the face.
But, in 2016, it still happens.
Nicola Thorp, a 27-year-old from London, was sent home from her temp job at PwC for turning up at the company’s headquarters in flat shoes. Sent home, we might add, without pay.
We highly doubt that’s ever happened to a male employee.
“I expressed my confusion as to why [I was being turned away from work], and they explained that flat shoes are not part of their dress code for women,” she told the Evening Standard.
“The supervisor [from Portico, a company that PwC outsources its reception services to] told me that I would be sent home without pay unless I went to the shop and bought a pair of 2- to 4-inch heels. I refused and was sent home.”
But rather than just complain about the insult, Thorp is taking action and campaigning for it to be made illegal to force women to wear heels — and makeup — to work.
Why are many working women still encouraged to wear heels? (Photo: Rex)
She has launched a petition on the U.K. Parliament’s website calling for this sexist injustice to end once and for all. If it reaches 10,000 signatures, then the government has to consider debating the issue.
“It’s still legal in the U.K. for a company to require female members of staff to wear high heels at work against their will,” she writes. “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“Current formal work dress codes are outdated and sexist.”
PwC provided the following statement when we reached out for a quote: “PwC outsources its front of house/reception services to a third party supplier. We first became aware of this matter on 10 May some five months after the issue arose. The dress code referenced in the article is not a PwC policy. We are now in discussion with the suppliers about the policy.”
We also got in touch with Portico, which assured us they’re reviewing their guidelines:
“In line with industry standard practice, we have personal appearance guidelines across many of our corporate locations,” a company representative said. “These policies ensure staff are dressed consistently and include recommendations for appropriate style of footwear for the role. We have taken on board the comments regarding footwear and will be reviewing our guidelines in consultation with our clients and team members.”