Sheffield MP's daughter broke foot after being forced to wear heels at work

Gill FurnissGill Furniss
Gill Furniss
A Sheffield MP claims her daughter suffered a broken foot when she was forced to wear high heels at work.

Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP, Gill Furniss, said her daughter suffered a metatarsal fracture while forced to wear high heels at work for lengthy period while she worked in retail.

She spoke out during a House of Commons debate on discriminatory workplace dress codes.

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Ms Furniss said: "Wearing heels in this way often causes foot pain, bunions, skin lesions, lower limb pathology and other related discomforts for the heel-wearer.

"In fact, my own daughter suffered from a metatarsal fracture, which is more commonly affiliated with sports injuries, when she was forced to wear high heels in a former retail job.

"Quite literally adding insult to injury, she was denied any compensation or sick pay as she wasn't on the payroll for long enough."

Equalities Minister Caroline Dinenage said employers must review their dress codes to reform any offices retaining a 'dodgy 1970s workplace diktat'.

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The debate came after more than 150,000 people signed an e-petition calling for discriminatory workplace dress codes to be outlawed.

London receptionist Nicola Thorp launched the petition last year when she was sent home from work after she refused to wear high heels.

A subsequent investigation by the Petitions Committee and the Women and Equalities Committee found that women have been told to dye their hair and wear revealing clothes.

Helen Jones, chairwoman of the Petitions Committee, said: "We found attitudes that belonged more, I was going to say in the 1950s but probably the 1850s might be more accurate, than in the 21st century.

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"And we found that women, especially young women in vulnerable employment, were exploited at work.

"Threatened with dismissal if they complained, they were forced to bear pain all day, or to wear clothing that was totally unsuitable for the tasks that they were asked to perform, or to dress in a way that they felt sexualised their appearance and was demeaning."

Equalities Minister Ms Dinenage said: "We have had anti-discrimination laws in this area for more than 40 years, yet it is a safe bet that these sort of dress codes have existed under the radar, with female employees putting up with discrimination because that is the way things are.

"Shod in heels or flats, we are collectively putting our foot down and attitudes are changing, and this petition has brought that change very clearly into the public domain.

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"Whether they (women) wear high heels or not, it should be absolutely up to them, not to some outdated, dodgy 1970s workplace diktat.

"I must reiterate that the Government utterly condemns such dress requirements where their effects are discriminatory."