Date Published: 25th January 2017

A recent House of Commons report titled ‘High Heels and Workplace Dress Codes’ calls for stricter enforcement of the law banning sexist dress codes in the workplace.


The report comes after receptionist Nicola Thorp started a  parliamentary petition on the issue which gained over 150,000 signatures after Ms Thorp was sent home from work for not wearing high heels.


The joint report from the ‘committee for Petitions’ and the ‘committee for Women and Equalities’ also detailed how other women reported being told to wear shorter skirts and unbutton blouses, and having their dress codes dictate nail varnish shade and hair root colour.


While the 2010 Equality Act should ban discriminatory dress rules at work,  the law isn’t  strictly adhered to.  The ‘High Heels and Workplace Dress Codes’ report recommends that the existing law should be enforced more vigorously, with employment tribunals being given the power to apply bigger financial penalties.


The report also recommends the launch of a publicity campaign to remind employers of their legal obligations and workers know how to complaint about discriminatory treatment.


Following the report, a government spokesperson said “no employer should discriminate against workers on grounds of gender – it is unacceptable and is against the law” and added that the The Government Equalities Office will take further steps in working with its partners to make sure employers comply with the law.

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