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Are Heels Mandatory? A Woman in Britain Was Sent Home From Her Job for Wearing Flats

Are Heels Mandatory? A Woman in Britain Was Sent Home From Her Job for Wearing Flats

By Leah Melby Clinton

When it comes to dressing for work, "business professional" commonly refers to some suiting pieces that fit properly and polished accessories. Classic pumps are an easy go-to, but they're not required...right?

Well, wrong.

A British woman was sent home from a temp gig at PriceWaterhouseCoopers because she showed up in flats. “They explained that flat shoes are not part of their dress code for women, [and] I would be sent home without pay unless I went to the shop and bought a pair of two to four inch heels," 27-year-old Nicola Thorp told The Telegraph. "I’m not sure exactly how [wearing heels] improves my ability to do my job. In fact, I would argue that I could do my job better if I was able to walk properly." A confused Thorp was told the policy isn't sexist since men never spend much time in heels in or out of work, making it a non-issue (it's a head-scratcher of an explanation, huh?).

"When I pointed out that my male colleague was allowed to work in flat shoes and that I felt that I was being discriminated against, I was laughed at. She said, 'Men aren’t used to wearing heels.' Well I’m afraid I’m not, either."

An online petition she organized has garnered over 100,000 signatures, an important number since it means British parliament will debate the matter. The topic might really require official conversation at this point too: A Canadian waitress shared a pic of her bloody feet after a shift that required heels (and was told she'd still need to wear a pair at work the next day), and the Cannes Film Festival grabbed attention last year when it reportedly banned women from wearing flats on the red carpet.

In general, we're all about comfortable shoes — we've got outfit inspiration for wearing your favorite summer dresses with sneakers

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Photo Credit: Jacob Ammentorp Lund via Getty Images