London receptionist sent home for not wearing heels (yes it is still 2016)

How very Mad Men...

Heels at work .jpg
Heels at work .jpg
(Image credit: rex)

How very Mad Men...

A London receptionist has been sent home from her temp job after refusing to conform to the company's draconian dress code policy.

Nicola Thorp, who lives in East London, started work as a receptionist at PwC but was sent home when she was told her shoes were inappropriate.

In case you're wondering, her shoes were not a) giant yellow Honey Monster slippers, b) 15 inch perspex stripper heels with a special 'tips' slot in the back, c) flippers, d) the mud-caked Tough Mudder trainers she wore a few weeks ago, e) elf shoes. Her shoes were the smart pair of flats she told BBC Radio London she had worn for countless office jobs before.

Unfortunately, she was told the PwC dress code policy demands employees should wear heels between two and four inches. At this point Ms Thorp might have glanced around at the men in the office, wondering why they weren't sauntering around in a pair of lovely L K Bennet black suede kittens. But of course, this dress code rule was reserved for the ladies alone.

Speaking to the radio programme, when she was asked to go out and purchase a pair of heels, Ms Thorp told her employer 'If you can give me a reason why wearing flats would impair me to do my job today, then fair enough', adding 'I was expected to do a nine-hour shift on my feet escorting clients to meeting rooms.' When she questioned whether the men were expected to do the same in heels, she was laughed at.

Since the incident occurred, Ms Thorp has set up an online petition demanding mandatory heels in offices should be banned, which currently has 22 000 signatures.

Obligatory heels are thankfully a thing of the past in the majority of UK workplaces, but here are few (anonymous) office dress nightmare anecdotes from readers and Marie Claire staffers...

"Angela" 'Before my first shift at a cocktail bar at university, the two other new barmaids and I were pulled aside and told that the 'black and white dress code' meant "something tight, and short" on the bottom "and tight, white and low cut" on the top half. "Anyone who doesn't like that should probably get a job somewhere else, you've been hired to get the punters in" the pervy manager said. Unbelievable!'

"Carol" 'When I started as a writer on a newspaper I used to wear a nice smart pair of Joseph trousers but was told I'd never make it onto the commissioning desk unless I started wearing a dress and heels.'

"Julia" 'We were told to wear two bras at a nightclub that I worked at during my university years to enhance our cleavage. How empowering…'

"Alexandra" 'My school uniform was pretty bad'

Lucy Pavia