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High heel hell

Posted by
16 May 2016
Over the past few weeks, there has been debate regarding women wearing heels in the workplace. In one instance, a waitress based in Canada who was forced to wear heels for a nine hour shift posted graphic images of her bloodied feet on social media. More close to home a female employee working for a well-known and respected organisation was sent home without pay for refusing to wear heels between two and four inches. Legally in the UK, firms can distinguish dress codes for men and women at work, as long as the requests are ‘reasonable’.

The word ‘reasonable’ could be interpreted differently, and it could be argued that it is unreasonable to be give little or no warning of such a severe consequence for such a minute detail. Much of the media has also picked up on this, describing the case a gender discrimination.

Additionally, high heels are (in some circumstances) impractical. I have two pairs of work shoes –one for driving and walking to the office which are flats (Newcastle’s cobbled streets can be extremely difficult to navigate in high heels) and a smart pair of black high heels for the office and meeting. If I worked in an environment where I was on my feet for longer period of time, it could potentially affect my mood and comfort levels. For a happy work force surely it’s more important for people to be smartly dressed and comfortable rather than smartly dressed and agitated

The working world is changing, and dress codes that businesses implement are adapting to it. Many organisations have relaxed uniforms rules for men too, so a tie is not required again it could be argued a tie effects a male's comfort levels).

Do you think dress code affects the way you work or represent your organisation? We would love to hear your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.

Sellick Partnership are also working actively with Greater Manchester Businessweek on a series of features on the changing position of ‘Women in Business’. Read the features below.

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