Skip to main site content.
Nicola Thorp petitioned the government after losing her job for refusing to wear high heels (Twitter/@LightHackers)

Dress code

Woman fired from temp job on first day for not wearing high heels

By WITW Staff on May 12, 2016

Nicola Thorp, a temp employee from London was dismissed without pay from her job as a receptionist at finance company because she showed up for work wearing flats. Her employer had told her she would need to wear shoes with 2- to 4-inch heels. The 27-year-old refused, saying she would not be able to spend the entire day on her feet wearing high heels. “I said, ‘If you can give me a reason as to why wearing flats would impair me to do my job today, then fair enough’, but they couldn’t,” she told BBC Radio London. Thorp argued that men would not be asked to do the same, which was laughed off as the outsourcing company that had placed Thorp there claimed she had agreed to a dress code for the job. Nevertheless, that company later told the BBC that all female employees would be allowed to wear flats, and the employer, PcW, claimed that it did not require heels.

Since then, Thorp has taken her case one step further, petitioning the U.K. Parliament to outlaw mandatory high heels for women in the workplace. In her petition, Thorp wrote that the “current formal work dress codes are out-dated and sexist.” On Thursday, the petition reached the 100,000 signature threshold required for the government to take up the topic for debate. “I think dress codes should reflect society,” Thorp told the BBC, “and nowadays women can be smart and formal and wear flat shoes.” The Washington Post points out that her argument might even make some medical sense: several studies have pointed out that sustained use of high heels has detrimental health effects, restricting muscle function and blood flow, and causing injuries or chronic pain. Below, watch Thorp talk about the ordeal in an interview with the BBC:

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


Woman in Iran barred from assuming elected office because she didn’t wear hijab

Cannes Film Festival turns away women from red carpet for not wearing high heels

Privileged Upper East Side moms get shots to numb their feet so they can wear “killer heels,” author claims in book

Student body president goes viral with fight against sexist dress code

Students protest gender-bias in application of school dress codes