You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

UK firm reverses high-heeled shoe policy after backlash

Press Trust of India  |  London 

A British outsourcing firm today reversed its policy requiring female employees to wear high-heeled shoes at work after widespread public backlash.

"With immediate effect all our female colleagues can wear plain flat shoes," Portico said.

The announcement follows revelations by a London-based receptionist Nicola Thorp who was told to wear shoes with a "2in to 4in heel" when she arrived for work at finance company PwC last December.

Thorp, 27, refused and was sent home, leading to her setting up a petition calling for the law on the dress code to be changed, signed by over 50,000 people.

"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'... 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," she said.

"I think dress codes should reflect society and nowadays women can be smart and formal and wear flat shoes. Aside from the debilitating factor, it's the sexism issue. I think companies shouldn't be forcing that on their female employees," Thorp added.

The company said the dress code issue involving Thorp at its central London office was "not a PwC policy".

Portico, a firm which hires reception staff for corporate offices like PwC, later said it was "committed to being an inclusive and equal opportunities employer" and actively embraced "diversity and inclusion within all our policies".

"We are therefore making it very clear that with immediate effect, all our female colleagues can wear plain flat shoes or plain court shoes as they prefer," said Managing director Simon Pratt.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, May 12 2016. 18:42 IST