A photo on social media of a woman’s bleeding feet after working a full shift as a waitress has been shared over 11,500 times in a week as the subject of compulsory high heels at work has become an international talking point.
In a post on Facebook, Nicola Gavins criticised Joey Restaurants in Edmonton, Canada for forcing its female staff to wear shoes with at least a one inch heel.
She said her friend lost a toenail after the shift, during which she was told by her supervisor that heels would be required the next day.
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Ms Gavins also pointed out that female employees were required to pay $30 to buy a black dress uniform while male employees can choose their own black clothing.
“I have many friends in the service industry and know loads of ladies who still earn great tips without having to sacrifice their comfort while serving,” she wrote. “I'll choose to continue supporting those establishments.”
Ms Gavins, a freelance makeup artist, later updated her post to complain about unpaid training shifts.
One person commented on the post: “Absolutely disgusting and sexist to force women to wear high heels. They are bad for your feet, bad for your back, bad for your tendons and calf muscles.”
US and Canada-based chain Joey Restaurants said in a statement that the company was “upset” to see the post and talked to the employee in question.
“There is no minimum height when it comes to our shoe policy. Shoes range from black dress flats, wedges and heels. For those employees wearing heels, we require the heel height to be no higher than 2.5’.”
The post went viral the same month that London-based temp worker Nicola Thorp was sent home from her first day at accountancy firm PwC because she was not wearing high heels.
“I was expected to do a nine-hour shift on my feet escorting clients to meeting rooms. I said ‘I just won’t be able to do that in heels’,” she told The BBC.
Her petition to make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work has gathered more than 83,000 signatures.
Footwear became a subject of controversy last year when women questioned why they were turned away from a red-carpet screening at the Cannes Film Festival for not wearing high heels – including film producer Valeria Richter, who has part of her left foot amputated.Reuse content