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High heels and flip-flops: Work dress code victims

image copyrightPA

London receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home from work for apparently refusing to wear high heels. The company she was working for said she had "signed the appearance guidelines" but it would now review them.

There has been a huge reaction to Nicola's story with many people complaining that staff should not be made to wear high heels.

Judging by the reaction we have had on Facebook, on Twitter and by email - it is not just high heels that are causing uniform grievances.

Carla Baird told us she has to follow a similar uniform policy to Ms Thorp, working as a temporary receptionist for a law firm in Leeds.

"I was appalled to discover I was supposed to wear two to four inch heels when I started working for the company and refused to do so," she said.

image copyrightCarla Baird

"I have knee and ankle problems and simply could not do this job in heels for nine hours a day.

"Thankfully, since I see a podiatrist and have a medical reason to wear flat shoes, they (begrudgingly) permit it."

Carla says other colleagues complain about the heels rule, and when she posts about the situation on Facebook, her friends and family cannot believe the situation.

She feels some of the company's other policies are also "sexist".

"Women have to wear a 'minimum' amount of make up and wear their hair up in 'a style deemed appropriate'.

"I understand there is a uniform, but I also think there are limits.

"Thankfully today is my last day and I am moving to a job where I can wear flat shoes, no makeup and wear my hair how I like!"

image copyrightJordan Mae Antoinette

Jordan Mae Antoinette works for a hotel in London and says all the women on her floor have to wear high heels.

"Our shifts are nine hours long and each night we leave with swollen feet," Jordan says.

"Some waitresses complain about knee and back problems due to being in heels for so long.

"It is part of our uniform and we cannot work without them."

Jordan says she's signed an online petition asking for the UK government to make it illegal to require women to wear high heel shoes at work.

Other people have left comments on our Facebook page to say they were forced to wear high heels even though they had medical problems, or were pregnant.

image copyrightFacebook
image copyrightFacebook

It seems that it is not just an issue for people in the UK, as we have had several comments from people in the US as well.

image copyrightFacebook

And it is not just about high heels and makeup, one person tweeted us to say she had to have a spray tan and a manicure for work.

image copyrightTwitter

While another tweeted us to say that she has to wear flip-flops at a leisure centre, even though she has to move heavy objects.

Men have also been in touch to say they have been forced to wear inappropriate clothes.

Doug emailed us to say he worked for a hotel which required him to wear a stifling suit in the summer.

"The uniform included a bow tie and a waistcoat which, in the summer, was unbearably hot and impeded my ability to breathe."

He says that women in the hotel were allowed to "wear whatever they wanted to match the time of the year".

"I was treated far worse in terms of uniform because of my gender," he said.

Dave Roberts in Southsea worked for a special events team in Portsmouth and says he had to wear an inappropriate suit while doing manual work.

"At weekends we four males were ordered to wear bright white shirts, ties, pressed trousers and shiny black shoes.

"Our first job would be loading wheelie-bins onto a trailer then deploying them on Southsea Common. Next task was setting up trestle tables that had been bombed by every seagull on the Solent.

"All this while remaining 'neat and presentable'.

"AND we had to pay for our own laundering."

More on this story

  • London receptionist 'sent home for not wearing heels'