Adaptions to Company Dress Codes

Adaptions to Company Dress Codes

Recently there has been a story in the news about a 27 year old woman who began a temping job at a prestigious London firm. The lady arrived on her first day wearing flat shoes as she knew that part of her job would require her to be on her feet for most of the day. 

Upon arriving at the office the lady was shocked to be greeted by her new bosses not welcoming her into her new role but explained that she was required to wear shoes that had a heel depth of 2” – 4” high after noting that she was wearing flat shoes. She stated that they laughed at her when she said she would rather not wear heeled shoes as it was impractical for her role given the length of time she was required to be ‘on her feet’ all day.  The bosses offered her two options, none of which were considered reasonable by the woman. They offered her the option to go home without being paid or to go and purchase a pair ready to start wearing. The woman refused resulting in her being sent home and the bosses carrying out their threats. 

After her experiences she has set up a petition which demands that women have the option to decide on the type of shoe they find most comfortable to wear at work. She has so far received over 7,000 signatures.

Most UK employers have some sort of dress code. The way a companies staff are dressed reflects their professional business image. If a person fails to adhere to their dress code the employer could be fair in dismissing the employee as long as they have give sufficient time to purchase the garment/shoes required.  The dress code must however reflect the same levels of smartness for men.  

This is an interesting topic, does the requirement to wear high heels reek of sexism? Research has shown that wearing high-heeled shoes for long periods of time is detrimental for feet. The joints of the feet could develop arthritis, mechanical damage, osteoarthritis and even cause slipped vertebrae. This could be a genuine worry for women who are on their feet for long periods of time. 

If you have experienced any problems in the workplace due to a dress code or any kind of uniform constraint please contact a member of our Employment team. Ashley Hunt & Carrie-Ann Randall are available on 01858 445480 and Vaishali Thakerar & Alex Reid are available on 0116 212 1000.

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