News | Legal News

08 March 2017

Equalities Minister urges end to ‘sexist’ dress codes

The Equalities Minister has written to trade bodies and employers, urging them to review "outdated and sexist" dress codes.

Caroline Dinenage asked for the reform in line with International Women's Day, calling discriminatory workplace dress codes "dodgy 1970s workplace diktat".

More than 150,000 people signed an e-petition to outlaw sexist dress codes, after London receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home from work after refusing to wear high heels.

During a Westminster Hall debate on the issue, Ms Dinenage said: "We have had anti-discrimination laws in this area for more than 40 years, yet it is a safe bet that these sort of dress codes have existed under the radar, with female employees putting up with discrimination because that is the way things are.

"Shod in heels or flats, we are collectively putting our foot down and attitudes are changing, and this petition has brought that change very clearly into the public domain."

An investigation by the Petitions Committee and the Women and Equalities Committee found that women have been told by employers to dye their hair and wear revealing clothes.

Ms Dinenage added: "Whether they (women) wear high heels or not, it should be absolutely up to them, not to some outdated, dodgy 1970s workplace diktat.

"I must reiterate that the Government utterly condemns such dress requirements where their effects are discriminatory."

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