A London temp worker employed as a receptionist was sent home without pay after she refused to wear high heels for her job.
Nicola Thorp said she showed up for her first day for work at the accounting firm PwC wearing flats, when she was told that the dress code required that she wear high heels between 2 and 4 inches.
When she laughed at the request, she was sent home without pay.
“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,” Thorp told BBC Radio.
In fact, Thorp said that high heels would hamper her work.
“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 said. “I think dress codes should reflect society and nowadays women can be smart and formal and wear flat shoes.”
Thorp has since started a petition demanding that women can’t be forced to wear heels to work, which has since gathered more than 20,000 signatures.
The account firm PwC said that it was not responsible for Thorp’s dispute, as they outsource receptionist services to Portico.
It’s “common practice within the service sector to have appearance guidelines,” said Simon Prat, a director at Portico. “These policies ensure customer-facing staff are consistently well presented and positively represent a client’s brand and image.”