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British Lawmakers Debate High Heels in the Workplace

UK Parliament discussed the do’s and don’ts of footwear in the workplace on Monday, according to AP reports.

The issue made its way to parliament after an employment agency told Nicola Thorp in December 2015 that the flats she had chosen to wear were not appropriate for her temporary job in London with PwC. The same employment company’s dress code also specified that women workers wear non-opaque tights, have “no visible roots” and dawn “regularly re-applied” makeup.

After understandable outrage, Thorp began an online petition, citing the “outdated and sexist” ways of the formal workplace dress code, which garnered over 150,000 signatures—making it eligible for Parliamentary debate.

While the debate held in parliament remains non-binding, the issue’s air-time has companies scrambling to reassess high heel enforcement within formal dress codes.

“A lot of things are enforced, but high heels in particular — because that can also be a health issue for people — I think that’s unnecessary,” company director Penelope Mantzaris told the AP.

Ultimately, the government sided with Thorp, stating “Employers should not be discriminating against women in what they require them to wear.”