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


Worker fired for not wearing high heels disappointed in government response

By WITW Staff on April 21, 2017

The British government claims there is no need to change legislation to protect employees from sexist dress codes, in a move that Nicola Thorp, a British woman sent home from work last year after refusing to wear heels, called a “cop-out.” She was hired as a temporary receptionist for accounting firm PwC but sent home on her first day for wearing flats, in an incident that caught national media attention and prompted a petition signed by 152,000 people asking to outlaw sexist dress codes. The women and equalities select committee in the British Parliament held an inquiry on workplace dress codes following the petition, but eventually argued that existing gender discrimination laws already ban sexist dress codes. While the government conceded that this committee found practices “in some industries which appear sexist, unacceptable and potentially unlawful,” it argued these were already covered under the Equality Act 2010, and employees should address complaints with their employers or a tribunal.  Nevertheless, the government said it would publish additional guidance on the issue this summer, and urged companies to reconsider their dress codes. “It’s a shame they won’t change legislation.” Thorp told the Press Association. “It shouldn’t be down to people like myself … I do think it is a little bit of a cop-out.” She added, “Unfortunately, because of intrinsic sexism and the way in which business works in the U.K., when employers are allowed the freedom to decide what is fair and unfair it tends to be women that lose out.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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