Women’s issues and gender equality has been at the forefront of the news and the media for the past couple of weeks. Issues ranging from inequality in the workplace, reproductive rights, discrimination and harassment have all been brought to our news screens and social media feeds.

This month we look at the inequality in dress codes between men and women in the workplace. A recent enquiry into workplace discrimination has left MP’s shocked by the stories submitted. The inquiry came after a petition was set up by Nicola Thorp.

Nicola was sent home on her first day of work after being told her flat shoes were unacceptable and after she refused to purchase heels -with her own money- that were between two to four inches in height.

Nicola Thorp

The petition quickly gained popularity, with women across the country have taking to share their experiences online.

The enquiry found these were some of the ways many women were being discriminated against:

The chair of the Petitions Committee, Helen Jones said: “It is fair to say that what we found shocked us. We found attitudes that belonged more [to the] – I was going to say 1950s but probably the 1850s might be more accurate – than the 21st Century.”

This was followed shortly by the controversial EU court ban of religious symbols in the workplace.

It allows employers to ban employees from wearing symbols of their religion, including the headscarf.

While this ruling has been hailed as a victory by the far-right, many saw it as indirect discrimination as it may put certain groups, like Muslim women or Sikh men at a disadvantage in the workplace.

Dress code Law

Under the equality act 2010, dress codes like the one what was applied to Nicola thorp would already be deemed discriminatory. However, they remain rife and are an unfortunate reality for many women in the workforce.

The same act, allows employers and companies to expect a certain dress or a dress code however it cannot be discriminatory in any way for certain ages, genders, religion, sexual orientation or any other protected characteristic.

If you feel like you’ve been subject to discrimination, or have been treated unfairly don’t hesitate to contact our team for free initial advice. Call us now on: 0116 2999 199 or email on: info@d-w-s.co.uk