High heels can be uncomfortable, but discomfort doesn’t even touch the brink of the iceberg of just how potentially harmful high heels can be. The damage they can cause includes callouses, a shortened achilles tendon, lower back pain and joint damage. That said, you can see that they aren’t ideal for everyday footwear, especially for working. Sadly, some bosses demand they be worn.
When London native, Nicola Thorp showed up to her new job as a temporary receptionist at Portico, a financial firm, she wore flats and thought nothing of it. Her boss on the other hand deemed the footwear unacceptable for the workplace and demanded she show up in high heels the following day.
Nicola refused and was immediately released and without pay for the work she had done. Most people would cut their losses and start looking for a new job, Nicola wasn’t like most people. She started a petition that would assure that no company would ever demand a woman wear high heels to work again.
The rather small incident suddenly garnered attention from all over England. Business woman began posting pictures on Twitter of themselves wearing flats, Facebook post were being made and the petition got over 150,000 signatures. The outrage prompted two separate parliamentary committees to look into the matter.
The committees heard from hundreds of women who reported that their companies had required them to wear revealing outfits, constantly reapply makeup and even dye their hair blonde.
More than two years since the day she was let go from Portico, the committee released a report stating that the company’s actions were in fact against the law. The committees also added that the existing law needed to be toughened to override sexist workplace codes. Portico since has changed all of its dress code.
Nicola reported that she wasn’t just fighting against sexism and the ill treatment of woman, but for public health. She was expected to work a nine hour shift on her feet in high heels. Part of that job would be escorting clients to meeting rooms. It was something she just couldn’t and wouldn’t do.