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>> She was fired for refusing to wear high heels. So 27-year-old Nicola Thorp set up a petition calling for a ban on forcing women to wear the particular style of shoe. So far, the number of signatures has reached over a hundred thousand, the number needed for it to be taken to Parliament.
In it, the petition says that it is legal here in the UK for a company to require female members of staff to wear high heels against their will. It says that's sexist and outdated and wants them to be able to wear flat, sensible shoes as well. The 27-year-old was asked to wear high heels by Portico which provides reception staff for finance company PwC in London.
She refused and was sacked.>> A lot of women keep quiet because we're just told, well, that's just the way it is. And I'm sick of the way it is being an excuse for something to still exist and to not open up a debate and a dialogue. As long as you're formal and smart, you're representing the company well, I don't see why by me being four inches taller I'm then suddenly deemed acceptable to represent a company.
You should have a choice.>> In response, our source in firm Portico has said with immediate effect, all our female colleagues can wear plain flat shoes. Employment lawyer, Rebecca Tark, explains how likely it is that Nicola will succeed in officially changing the rule book>> There is an argument that says that if a woman is forced to wear something which makes her feel uncomfortable or inhibits the way in which she can carry out her professional duties, then that could be less favorable treatment.
I can't see there being an appetite to make specific laws in relation to shoes. But in terms of how the current laws that we have are interpreted, then she may have a better chance in that regard. Nicola will now have to wait for the House of Commons Petitions Committee to decide if the issue will be debated, but even if it doesn't make it to the corridors of power, Heelgate is certainly kicking up a storm on the streets.