Nicola Thorp, a 27-year-old temp worker in London, says she was sent home without pay after her first day as a receptionist at PwC because of what she was wearing.
What, pray tell, was Thorp dressed in that was so egregious? Was it a pair of JNCOs and an Insane Clown Posse crop top? A leopard-print Snuggie with nothing underneath? No. She was wearing flat shoes, rather than the two-to-four-inch heels required by her employer.
When Thorp mentioned that the male receptionist wasn’t subject to the same dress code, she says she was laughed at.
While it is legal to force such a dress-code requirement under British law, it’s both sexist and impractical. Thorp says she would be spending nine hours a day on her feet — which can be agonizing to do in high heels. She has since started a petition to attempt to overturn the law that allows employers to send their staff home if they’re not adhering to a “reasonable” dress code.
PwC told the BBC that “the dress code referenced in the article is not a PwC policy.” Rather, it comes from Portico, the firm that provides its reception services. Portico also released a statement saying they would review the dress code after the incident.
Regardless of how the review goes, it appears as if the high-heel backlash is finally beginning.