Welcome back to the EGB Blog and this one happens to land on my Birthday, Happy Birthday to me! We like to celebrate the birthdays of our colleagues in the office and do so with a gift and some cake, can’t ask for more than that! So, while I am kept in suspense, lets head towards the more typical contents of the blog. This week we are taking a look at discrimination in the workplace, specifically aimed at the way dress codes can seem far more specific for women than they do for men.
These issues first came to the lime light when receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home without pay because she decided against wearing high heels. Unfortunately, her employer’s dress code made it a requirement within the dress code for her role, this prompted Nicola Thorp to create a petition for the ban of such a practice. This petition garnered a lot of attention and ended with 150 thousand signatures when it came to an end. This prompted investigations by the Petition Committee and the Women and Equalities Committee into the allegations.
The two committees asked for those who had felt that they had been discriminated against to send their accounts of situations they had gone through. The committee received responses showing that female employees throughout the country had been told to dye and straighten their hair, wear revealing clothes, and constantly re-apply makeup. This prompted the committees to make recommendations to government to update the existing laws.
The Government has since responded to the petition, they rejected the calls for new laws stating that the current ones were adequate to cover these issues. While this seems all well and good, it seems that many businesses and organisations simply don’t have full understanding of the law or simply disregard it. To combat the former, the government intends to introduce a set of guidelines for employers, this will help them create Dress Codes which are not discriminatory.
Do you agree with the findings that enforcing a dress code policy that contains items like High Heels is discriminatory? Perhaps there have been times that you have been on the receiving end of such dress codes (hopefully you haven’t), but let us know your stories and thoughts below. I personally believe there should be equal requirements for whoever is fulfilling the role, which we fortunately have at EGB (and Causal Fridays!).
Thank you for reading,