MPs Invite Female Employees to Share Work Experiences in Discrimination Row
A leading specialist in discrimination law has welcomed an inquiry into a petition that asked the Government to make it unlawful for a company to require women to wear high heels at work.
Linda Stewart, Partner and Head of Employment Law at Simpson Millar LLP, said "the inquiry is important - it could put an end to discriminatory dress code policies in the workplace."
The row over firms forcing female employees to wear heels began after a woman was sent home from her temp job for refusing to wear shoes with a 2in - 4in heel
After sharing her experience, the employee began a petition to put an end to businesses forcing women to wear high heels to work.
After widespread media coverage the petition garnered over 142,000 signatures – which means it is due to be debated in Parliament.
The matter has now been taken up by the Petitions Committee, who is asking women to share their experiences
, so that they can gain a better understanding of the issue.
Discrimination in the Workplace
The development of this story has brought a contentious issue to light, as Linda explains:"Equality in the workplace is a continued struggle and gender discrimination is still a big issue facing our society."This seems to be a flashpoint in the wider debate about discrimination in the workplace, women feel insecure in their jobs because they could be fired for wearing flat shoes."Forcing female employees to wear shoes that could pose health and safety risks – not to mention cause serious discomfort throughout the working day – is an example of some of the outdated policies that continue to discriminate against certain members of the workforce."
Significant Year for Equality
The move to chair a Petitions Committee inquiry on an issue of gender discrimination has come in a significant time, as the country marks the Fawcett Society's 150th Anniversary
With the presentation to Parliament the first petition for women's suffrage coming 150 years ago this month, Linda comments that it is a fitting time to discuss continued discrimination in the workplace:"Society has developed significantly since Millicent Fawcett led the constitutional campaign for women's votes; however certain workplaces seem to be falling behind with their uniform policies."I've dealt with a number of cases where female employees have a dress code that is disproportionate to their male colleagues, this is a discriminatory policy and it is important that we challenge these negative perceptions in the workplace."
Getting Help with Discrimination Have you been affected by a discriminatory uniform policy in the workplace? If so, our team of expert employment lawyers are on hand to hear your case.