This petition was submitted during the 2015–2017 Conservative government
Petition Make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work
It's still legal in the UK for a company to require female members of staff to wear high heels at work against their will. Dress code laws should be changed so that women have the option to wear flat formal shoes at work, if they wish. Current formal work dress codes are out-dated and sexist.
This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months
Parliament debated this topic
This topic was debated on 6 March 2017
This response was given on 24 June 2016
Company dress codes must be reasonable and must make equivalent requirements for men and women. This is the law and employers must abide by it.
Read the response in full
This Government is taking action to remove the barriers to equality for women at work, which is why we are tackling the gender pay gap, increasing the number of women on boards, increasing support for childcare costs and ensuring employers are aware of their obligations to pregnant women.
Employers are entitled to set dress codes for their workforce but the law is clear that these dress codes must be reasonable. That includes any differences between the nature of rules for male and female employees, otherwise the company may be breaking the law. Employers should not be discriminating against women in what they require them to wear.
The Government takes this issue very seriously and will continue to work hard to ensure women are not discriminated in the workplace by outdated attitudes and practices.
Government Equalities Office
Other parliamentary business
MPs to investigate high heels petition
MPs have decided to investigate this petition.
The investigation is going to look at:
• What the problem is
• What the law says
• What could be done to make the law better.
First, we need your help.
Have you been made to wear high heels at work? If your answer is yes, we want to hear from you.
Please share your experiences with us using our web forum. The deadline for comments is 10am on Thursday 16 June.
You can find out more information and add your comment to the web forum on our website: http://www.parliament.uk/high-heels-petition-forum
What will happen next?
We will carefully consider all the comments we receive. This will help us with our inquiry.
We also plan to hear from people affected and various experts in person. These "oral evidence sessions" will be open to the public and available to watch live on Parliament TV. We will let you know when they will happen. You can follow our work on this issue on the inquiry page: http://www.parliament.uk/petitions-committee/heels-at-work-inquiry
We will also be posting updates on Twitter: www.twitter.com/HocPetitions #heelsatworkinquiry
Who are we?
We are a group of cross-party MPs called the Petitions Committee. We are independent from Government. You can find out more about us on our website: http://www.parliament.uk/petitions-committee/role
MPs publish report on high heels and workplace dress codes in response to petition
We told you a few months ago that MPs on the House of Commons Petitions Committee had decided to investigate the issues raised by this petition.
The inquiry has now finished and the Petitions Committee has published a joint report with the Women and Equalities Committee on high heels and workplace dress codes. The report concludes that the Equality Act 2010 is not yet fully effective in protecting workers from discrimination.
The report calls for:
· the Government to take urgent action to improve the effectiveness of the Equality Act. It recommends that the Government reviews this area of the law and, if necessary, asks Parliament to amend it.
· more effective remedies—such as increased financial penalties—for employment tribunals to award against employers who breach the law, in order to provide an effective deterrent.
· the Government to introduce guidance and awareness campaigns targeted at employers, workers and students, to improve understanding of the law and workers' rights.
You can read the full report on the Parliament website: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/petitions-committee/news-parliament-2015/high-heels-and-workplace-dress-codes-report-published-16-17/?utm_source=petition&utm_campaign=129823&utm_medium=email&utm_content=reportstory
We are hugely grateful to you for signing this petition and raising this issue in Parliament. Without this petition, this inquiry would not have happened.
What will happen now?
The petition and report will be debated in Parliament on Monday 6 March at 4.30pm in Westminster Hall (the second debating chamber of the House of Commons). You can watch the debate live on the day or catch up with it afterwards on Parliament TV: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Commons
The Government will send a formal response to our report within 2 months. We will let you know when this happens. You can follow any updates on our inquiry page: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/petitions-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/high-heels-workplace-dress-codes-inquiry-16-17/?utm_source=petition&utm_campaign=129823&utm_medium=email&utm_content=inquiry
Who are the Petitions Committee?
The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs and is independent from Government. You can find out more on our website:
You can follow us on Twitter: @HoCpetitions
This was a joint inquiry and joint report with the Women and Equalities Committee. You can find out more information about the Women and Equalities Committee on their website: