High heels (2)

No woman should ever be forced to wear high heels to work. That is the call of business secretary Sajid Javid as the spotlight shines even brighter on the issue.

His comments come after the company at the centre of the row ditched the policy that made it national news.

Last week, Nicola Thorp was sent home for refusing to wear high heels by Portico, an outsourced receptionist service used by PwC at Embankment.

Now, Portico has changed its policy. "All our female colleagues can wear plain flat shoes or plain court shoes as they prefer," managing director Simon Pratt announced.

Nicola's story prompted questions over whether or not employers can legally force female staff to wear high heels, including our own.

Jonathan Walsh, an employment law solicitor at Capital Law explained that there is no specific law preventing employers from imposing a dress code, including high heels, but “to put it simply it really depends on the reason why the employer is insisting on this high heel rule and the reason why the employee is refusing".

Nicola launched an petition calling for it to be made illegal for an employer to force female staff to wear high heels. At the time of writing, it has gained more than 135,000 signatures.

Sajid Javid took to Twitter to have his say on the issue, saying "No woman should be forced to wear high heels. Responsible employers shouldn't need the law to tell them that".