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Workplace dresscode
  • Published:
    21 April
  • Area of Law:

Phil Pepper comments on the Governement's rejection to ban women wearing high heels

Commenting on the Government’s rejection to ban women from wearing high heels, Phil Pepper, employment lawyer said:
“Making woman wear high heels at work is absurd and this will cause employers some difficulty if not handled with care.
“It is not unreasonable for employers to specify a dress code and they are completely within their legal rights to do so. However, details of any dress code should be included within an appropriate policy or handbook and communicated to new hires. 
“Problems occur because expectations about how employees should dress at work can be subjective - one person’s idea of a smart appearance might differ from another’s. Issues can arise if employees feel that the dress code at their workplace is sexist or otherwise discriminatory. It is safe to say, forcing your employees to wear high heels, could leave employers open to discrimination claims. There are laws around dress codes, if you are an employer who requires women to wear high heels, there is some protection for women on sex discrimination grounds.
“Before imposing a strict dress code, employers should consider carefully whether any aspect could be considered discriminatory. They should also remember their duty of care to employees and ensure that the dress code does not represent a health and safety issue for their staff. The guidance to follow will no doubt provide some clarity for employers.”

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Joanna Thornell, Client and Markets Director, Shakespeare Martineau