When Nicola Thorp arrived at her first day of work she never expected to be sent home for going against the dress code.
In December the 27-year-old London receptionist showed up at the finance company, PwC. Her uniform consisted of a dress with a jacket on top, but she was told her flat, black shoes were a problem. According to the rules, all the women at reception were expected to wear a “2 in to 4 in heel.”
The confused temp worker argued that her male colleagues weren’t being critiqued for not wearing heels, but she was simply laughed at. Knowing that she would have to be standing for a nine hour shift, the young woman expressed that the heels would only make it harder to accomplish her tasks.
“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 London. After refusing to go out and buy a new pair of shoes, she was asked to leave and went home without pay.
While PwC claims that they don’t have specific dress guidelines for men and women, it appears that there is a clear distinction between what is expected of each gender. Since her story has gone viral, many ladies have expressed how they’ve been in similar situations, such as Thorp, and they agree the heels aren’t necessary.
The determined woman has taken action and written up petition asking that the law be fixed, so that women in the workplace can’t be forced to wear high heels. So far more than 10,000 people have signed it and the government will have no choice but to look further into the matter.
“I was a bit scared about speaking up about it in case there was a negative backlash,” said Thorp. “But I realized I needed to put a voice to this as it is a much bigger issue.”