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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 4°C

Woman wins right to not have to wear high heels to work

27-year-old Nicola Thorp was sent home from a temp role with accountancy firm PwC after refusing to adhere to a high heel stipulation requested by the temp agency Portico.

nicola2 Facebook Nicola Thorp Facebook

A LONDON WOMAN has earned the right to not have to wear high heels to work after being sent home without pay for not doing so.

Temp agency Portico has relented following a stand off with 27-year-old Nicola Thorp and said that its female employees are entitled to wear any footwear they choose.

Thorp, an employee with Portico, was set to begin a placement at accountancy firm PwC, when she was told to leave the premises for failing to comply with the dress code.

Thorp had argued at the time that she wouldn’t be able to do her work effectively for an entire day while wearing high heels.

“When I turned up to work that day… I was told I can’t wear those shoes, that all women have to wear high heels,” Thorp told the BBC.

They said you have to go home if you’re not going to wear the heels. They said I was welcome to go out and buy a pair of heels with my own money.
20 years ago women weren’t allowed to wear trousers in the role I’m doing now, and that only changed because some women spoke up. I think dress codes should reflect society.

She also asked if there was any part of her job that required the wearing of such footwear in order to perform it, or whether or not the men working at the company were also expected to wear high heels, a query Thorp says led to her being “laughed at”.

After being sent home, Thorp launched an online petition to “make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work”.

Currently standing at 84,042 signatures (at 10,000 the UK government must formulate a response, at 100,000 the topic becomes eligible for debate in Parliament), the petition has forced Portico into something of a climbdown.

“We are totally committed to being an inclusive and equal opportunities employer,” the company said in a statement.

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.

The company added that PwC had asked it to review and revise its policy.

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