Recruitment company backs down after saying female employee 'must wear high heels'

'We are now reviewing our supplier uniform codes to ensure they are aligned with our own values'

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 12 May 2016 07:07 BST
Forced to wear heels

The company who sent a woman home from work for refusing to wear high heels says it has updated its uniform policy.

Temp worker Nicola Thorp was told to change into high heels when she arrived for her first day at the London offices of accountary firm PwC wearing flat shoes.

The 27-year-old was sent home without pay after being told she had to wear high heels with a height of two to four inches.

Outsourcing firm Portico said Ms Thorp had "signed the appearance guidelines" but would now review them, while PwC said the dress code was "not a PwC policy".

Ms Thorp has also launched a petition calling for the law to be changed and to stop employers from being able to insist a woman wear high heels as part of their work.

It now has over 66,000 signatures. The Government responds to all petitions that get more than 10,000 signatures.

Ms Thorp told BBC Radio London she was shocked when she arrived at work for her first day and was told about the policy: “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.

"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’.”

Since then, PwC released a statement to say it was "pleased that Portico had responded to our concerns" over the uniform guidelines.

The statement said: "We are pleased that Portico has responded to our concerns and is updating its uniform policy with immediate effect.

"PwC places a great deal of emphasis on providing a progressive working environment for all of our people and we feel strongly that this must include third party employees working in our offices.

"We are now reviewing our supplier uniform codes to ensure they are aligned with our own values."

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