UK receptionist petition on high heels at work gets 120,000 signatures

LONDON A London temporary worker, sent home for wearing flat shoes, has collected more than 120,000 signatures so far in a petition calling for Britain to make it illegal for a firm to require women to wear high heels at work.

Reaching that total on Friday easily put Nicola Thorp’s petition over the 100,000-signature threshold needed to have Britain’s parliament consider holding a debate on an issue.

Thorp made headlines this week when she launched her campaign describing how she had arrived in flat shoes for her first day to work as a receptionist for accounting company PwC last December to be told she had to wear heels.

She told British media she refused an offer to go buy a pair of heels and was sent home without pay.

Portico, the agency through which Thorp got the job, had set the uniform guidelines and has since reviewed and revised its policy upon PwC’s request. It now says “all our female colleagues can wear plain flat shoes or plain court shoes as they prefer”.

Thorp started the government petition this week, saying “current formal work dress codes are out-dated and sexist”.

“Employers are allowed to impose different dress codes for men and women, which is fair enough as long as that dress code doesn’t favour one of the sexes,” Thorp told Britain’s ITN television.

“By making women wear high heels you are acting favourably towards men because their footwear doesn’t affect their posture, their ability to move. It doesn’t create long term health problems.”

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Reuters Television; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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