25 May 2016

Selling your sole for a foot in the door

Author :

A manager of chain restaurant Joey has unwittingly become the object of wrath of every woman on the planet.

Nicola Gavins, from Alberta, Canada, uploaded an image to Facebook of her friend’s feet after her waitressing shift at Joey- a chain restaurant. The image is enough to make women cringe worldwide. Her pop-socks stained red with blood, the waitress stands next to the culprits- a pair of pointed-toe black Karl Lagerfeld high heels.

Nicola claimed her friend was “bleeding to the point she lost a toe nail.” Blanch.

 “She was still discouraged and berated by the shift manager for changing into flats (specifically told that heels would be required on her next shift the following day),” Nicola wrote on Facebook.
In a related and equally enraging incident, Nicola Thorp, a 27-year-old London receptionist, was sent home from work for wearing flats.

Nicola, from Hackney, arrived at PwC (a finance company) to be told that her shoes had to have a heel between 2 to 4 inches. Understandably frustrated, she cited the fact that male employees were not required to wear heels.

Nicola was promptly sent home without pay.

It may come as a surprise but it turns out that wearing heels actually doesn’t improve the worker’s ability to serve customers. Shocking, I know.

If anything, the 5 inches of terror hinder, rather than help. What lady hasn’t tripped while in stilettos- surreptitiously or dramatically? Maybe you’ve fallen into a garden bed (not that I’ve ever done that). Maybe you’ve sprained or broken something- it happens.

The common question arising from these disputes is, “Is it legal to force an employee to wear high heels?”

In the UK, “it is perfectly legal for UK employers to dismiss workers who do not adhere to reasonable dress code demands,” news.com.au writes. That can mean forcing staff to work for 8 hours a day on treacherous spikes.

‘But that’s on the other side of the world’, we say. ‘That would never happen in Australia.’
It turns out yes, it could.

“In Australia, the employment guidelines are similar, with employers able to impose ‘reasonable’ dress code rules,” news.com.au explains. However high heels are not enforced specifically so there may be grounds for an employee to launch a discriminate case given an incident like that above.

Why an employer would force their workers to wear high heels is beyond my comprehension. A comfortable worker is a happy worker; they will serve your business better than a worker in pain.

In the words of Anne M. Mulcahy, “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”


So let your staff ditch their heels for a practical pair of flats. The results will be toe-tally worth it. 

Claire Dowler is a Conference Producer with Akolade. She recently graduated with a double degree: a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Media and Communications Studies majoring in International Communication. Claire minored in sarcasm and puns.

A ballroom-dancer who collects salt and pepper shakers and volunteers for animal rescue, you might say Claire has eclectic interests.

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