employment law


This has been big in the news lately.

When I heard about a woman being sent home for refusing to wear heels I thought, good on you! Why should women be forced to wear shoes which do not assist in the performance of their duties and can often pose a health and safety risk?

I remember regularly getting my heels caught in badly laid pavements when working into work and the many times I’ve heard women say “my feet are killing me” after wearing heels all day.

The question is whether the rule is less favourable treatment, as men are not required to wear something in a similar way. The only equivalent I can think of is insisting on wearing of ties. But this doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) cause pain or risk health and safety.

The Women and Equalities Committee which has recently been reviewing this issue has published their view and provided some clear guidance on it. A rule requiring employees to wear heels is unlawful and it is a health and safety risk.

I know of other dress code rules including one which requires men to either be fully clean-shaven or to have a full beard. Unless there is a health and safety reason, I find it hard to justify why this should be necessary or how in practice it would be implemented.


Do you have a dress code for your employees?

In light of the current attention on this point, maybe you should review it to be sure that its justifiable, clear and fair.

If you need advice on how best to deal with any of these issues or need advice on any employment-related issues please contact Beswicks Legal on 01782 205000 or laura.franklin@beswicks.com.