Heels at work

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  1. Hi Everyone,

    I saw this story last night and I feel it would be interesting to get the thoughts of TPFers on this one. Basically a temp at a London firm refused to wear heels to work.

    Has anyone dealt with a situation like this, i.e. heels part of the dress code, "refusals?" from a temp or an FT employee? Wondered if people had views from both the employee/temp side about meeting expectations or refusing and from an employees perspective about setting standards and requirements. Who is being unreasonable do you think?

    As an aside, do you workplaces/employeers suggest or require wearing heels and what do you feel about this?

    Thanks, Louise x
  2. With regard to her case specifically, if she signed the contract and it stipulates a dress code that requires heels, then that means she accepted it from the start.

    But broadly, I think mandating heels is preposterous. The makeup I understand, looking presentable is necessary for any customer-facing job. But requiring heels, I don't. What if the person can do the job competently but can't wear heels due to health reasons?

    My workplace is very casual, we are not required to wear heels. I'd never work in a company that requires women to wear heels anyway.
  3. It's a mixed bag. She was told up front that heels were required to comply with the dress code. If she had a issue with it then she should have addressed it then and saved herself and the company the time and energy of dealing with someone who doesn't want to adhere to the dress code. At the end of the day the business has a right to dictate the dress code of thier work environment. It's like getting a job at hooters and then complaining that you have to wear booty shorts and tight t-shirts.

    Would I work somewhere that had that requirement no. But then again I would have addressed the issue when it came up instead of agreeing to the terms and showing up dressed however I wanted. Is it sexist to require females to wear heels, imo yes especially when males get a different set of rules. No in 2016 a woman shouldn't be required to wear heels to work. And as others pointed out that it can be considered discriminatory to people who aren't physically able to wear them.

    So while I do think that the requirement is sexist. I don't think she has any grounds to complain on. She was told of the requirements of the dress code and agreed to them. It comes off as a "the rules don't apply to me because I'm special snowflake" problem. I feel like she heard the requirement and didn't take it seriously and then cried wolf when she was held accountable for the fact that she violated the dress code on her first day. Businesses has a right to make thier own dress code to fit the needs of thier business. And a receptionist is the first person and the last person a client sees. They have a right to have certain expectations of how they want to be represented. And to add to the mix if she's a receptionist she's going to be doing most of her work sitting down. So it's not like she's pounding the pavement in her heels 8+ hours a day killing her feet. She's sitting at a desk and is most likely able to kick her shoes off if needed and no one would even know. People do that at my work (and I work in admin) and no one cares as long as you put your shoes back on when your walking around.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using PurseForum mobile app
    chicinthecity777 likes this.
  4. From what I understand of the article, she was informed of the dress code which included wearing 2-4 inch heels. I assume she knew this in advance and if she disagreed with it, she should have said something from the get go or not accepted the job at all if she felt this strongly against it. While I don't agree with it myself, the company has the right to impose a dress code and employees are required to comply.

    I work in a hospital and wear sneakers all the time so I don't have this issue. I'm glad I don't because I have a foot problem that would be aggravated by wearing anything above 2 inches. Before I worked at the hospital, I had a job that did require wearing closed toe, 2 and a half or above heels. Ironically, this contributed to me developing bunions on both feet.

  5. hey :smile:

    I think I agree with you on most points, presumably here agency will have told her what was expected and if they didn't then the company certainly did.

    As you say, she signed up to the requirements on accepting the job IMO. I have been a receptionist at the start of my career for what its worth and I know how seriously companies take personal presentation.

    I think you are right that the company should be able to require certain standards and that if someone doesn't want to adhere to them (without a reasonable justification) i.e. medical/disability, then she shouldn't have taken the job, and for her own benefit she certainly shouldn't have pleaded "special snowflake" status having arrived on day 1 IMO, I think she comes over as whiny by doing so I'm afraid and not terribly professional.

    Louise x
  6. Interestingly, the woman involved has now been interviewed for TV. What do you make of her?

  7. I agree with what you've been saying, it shouldn't be compulsory because wearing heels daily can seriously damage your feet and some people really can't wear them for health reasons, but if she signed that going into the job she should've addressed it at the time and not later on.
  8. Interesting - I was conflicted reading the article.

    Seems what was a rite of passage into adulthood for me, is yet another dying tradition and too burdensome for the younger, more-entitled generation to learn/adapt to.

    Having said this, I do totally agree those working in restaurants and other service industries where you're moving for 8 hours constant is a health and safety hazard.
  9. Oh yeah, those first days I got to wear proper heels for college and at work (not school shoes) were a really good moment for me, a rite of passage as you say
  10. #12 May 13, 2016
    Last edited: May 13, 2016
    It depends on the job. A uniform or a dress-code can be a good thing (including at school)

    I have had to do reception duties as part of one job. We had to wear those hideous Tee-****s with a corporate logo. I got on with it, no problem.

    I think heels are iffy though, she has a point, the men don't have to wear them

    I was told to come back in heels and more make-up for a (fashion) job 2008 during LFW. Certainly wasn't in my contract, I was expected to be on my feet all day too. We're not talking just the 2" heels I was already in but high heels. I was head of my dept too. The designer then proceeded to borrow my heels for his next shoot (for a model, not for him) and has never given them back to this day.

    I left at the end of the month. Unless a uniform is supplied and part of the job, I absolutely will not give up my self-expression that choosing the way I dress provides.
  11. Some people just can't wear heels, it's not an entitlement thing for everyone. I would love to wear heels but I broke my foot and have to be selective in my footwear now. I get awful cramps if my heel is higher than an inch and a half it seems. My workplace allows heels but most women opt out because the environment is not heel friendly even though it is mostly an office setting.

    That being said, if I interviewed for a job and they told me I have to wear heels I'd ask if I could wear something else. If not, I'd turn the job down unless I sat at a desk all day and never had to walk lol
  12. #14 Oct 22, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
    Yes I would like to comment on this! My gf has a dress code as a sales woman for a high profile company to wear at least 4inch non-platform heels! And the most challenging thing for her about it is that she has to stand up practically the whole day because she's standing at a standing counter without a chair in the near neighbourhood except in a room in the back where she takes her breaks. It's a high profile store so having a chair in the store for employees is just 'not done'. She's quite petite (5 ft 2) and she really likes to wear high heels most of the time to make her look and feel taller. So she has a lot of experience with high heels. She even trains her legs and feet every day for about 30 minutes to strengthen the calves, foot arches and a lot of foot musscles. She's also into ballet for 15 years so her feet are well trained for wearing heels for longer periods of the time. She walks around on tiptoes all the time when she's barefoot at home to increase strength in her feet and calves. It baffles me everytime she gets very high up on her tiptoes, she can go up very very high on tiptoes(see picture below).


    It's a pretty well paid job and she thought it was worth a shot and the money to take this job/challenge to train her feet to get comfortable standing in 4 inch heels all day. She's a very tough girl who likes challenges like this. However the last thing she wanted is to destroy her feet in the long term! She read stories about women getting shortened calves from wearing heels every day which would make wearing flat shoes impossible so she wanted to make sure that that would never happen with specific calves exercises and by wearing flats during the weekends and at home once in a while.

    She started the job 2 years ago and she bought some 'medium' budget 4 inch heels and it was truely a hell for her to reach the end of the day each day standing up straight even with gel pads. Then she searched the web and found out that expensive quality shoes like Louboutins are the most comfortable out there! She bought a pair of So Kates(which were an inch higher than the requirement!) and with a pair of gel pads it became surprisingly a lot more manageable for her to stand up all day. She LOVES the heels and I like the looks of them on her as well and she now wears them practically every day after 2 years of 'standing practice'.The first few months were pretty tough for her but she pulled through and eventually it became slowly but steadily more and more somehow comfortable as time progressed. She's not entirely painless now but it has become very well manageable for her she says.

    The number one bottleneck will always be the balls of her feet, even after 2 years with the best gel pads out there the balls of her feet start to hurt a little when it's noon(after 4 hours) and from there this little discomfort increases slowly until the end of the day but she says it's pretty manageable now. What she tend to do the last few hours of each day is try to shift her weight regularly from one foot to another, shift weight from ball of foot to heel and back, shift each foot slightly from side to side...and try to distract herself! I have deep respect for her dedication pulling this off each day and every working day! I'm very proud at her. She even has gone a step further a few months ago and bought a pair of Hot Chicks which are half an inch higher. She wears them once or rarely twice a week but not longer than 4 hours(till noon) before switching to So Kates. The Hot Chicks are really tough for her but her goal is to master the Hot Chicks as well in the long term to manage a full day or even a full week standing in those as well! Her timeframe to reach that goal is summer '18. :smile:

    So in conclusion, making an employee required to wear high heels is not for every average woman out there, especially not for women without experiece standing in high heels at all. Feet and legs must be well trained to fufill this requirement! Also very expensive high quality heels are needed to get the job done!
  13. Sure not for every one to wear heels but if the job requires a professional look it's somthink most women will enjure, I have worn high heels to my various work places over 15 years and will admit high heels has contributed to me having bunions and various other feet problems and I'm one of those people who cannot walk flat footed and has tight Achilles, saying all this I would have never worn flats so I guess any individuals are different.
    papertiger likes this.
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