Cliffnotes: On her first day on the job at a corporate finance company, the newly hired receptionist is sent home by employer for not wearing heels. She showed up wearing flats. Employer says in line with industry standard practices, it has personal appearance guidelines which includes appropriate style footwear. Her job was to escort clients to meeting rooms. Employee is making a fuss and is now starting a petition that is fully supported by feministas and PC crowd. Employee says it’s sexism to be forced to wear heels and that wearing flats does not make her less competent.
I don’t see this situation any different than a man having to wear a suit for an entire day. It’s not the most comfortable thing in the world (especially in summer) and wearing a wife beater (or short sleeve button downs) and jeans does not make a man less competent.
Reminds me of a gentleman I met in the metro, who had an undergraduate degree and worked a Mcjob. When I asked him why he got fired from his firm he said they were racist. I asked him why doesn’t he apply for jobs elsewhere he said his gpa was low.Upon asking why the GPA was low( the guy was a college athlete type) he said the professors were racist.
This woman is rediculous. The dress code was apparently clear… heels 2-4 inches. It was part of her job to look a certain way. Therefore, not following the dress code DOES makes her less competent at being the welcoming image of the firm. If you say you can’t handle walking around in a two inch heel (barely more than the rise on a running shoe), then you are just making excuses. I would be on the woman’s side if it was not part of her job description to create an image and if it the dress code was not clearly stated. That is not the case. I agree with FT and his example of suits in the summer. That is WAY more uncomfortable than a freaking two inch heel. Suck it up lady!
+1. I mean, I don’t want to wear a dress to work, but when it’s 97 degrees out in a Houston summer and the girl on my team can wear a dress that’s open and I’d imagine comfortable, and I have to wear a suit, tie, and buttoned up shirt?! That’s not fair. Granted life isn’t fair, and as a white male I probably have other advantages that outweigh comfort in a Houston summer, but still.
Thankfully my new job (as of a few months ago) has barely any dress code to speak of. If you’re seeing clients, it’s business casual at a minimum. In the office, anything goes. Today I wore shorts, a polo shirt, and sperry’s. One guy in my office frequently wears jorts. It’s fashion suicide, but whatever.
I don’t have a problem telling her she has to adhere to the code, as stupid as the code may be.
However, I don’t know that I’d send her home to change shoes. I’d just tell her “don’t wear flats anymore after today” and be on my way. Sending her home wastes her time and yours, and leaves you without a receptionist in the meantime.
I would understand if it were very open beach sandals vs closed toe office shoes, but flats vs heals (where the goal is attractiveness rather than professionalism) is sexist. Kudos to her for voicing it out
Also heals can be painful for some women to wear - ridiculous to enforce it.
True, not only are they uncomfortable they can cause stress on the knee, feet, and abnormal spine tension as Sam noted. They are just a way of emphasizing T&A. “It’s the dress code” is a weak response. It’s a stupid dress code.
Personally, I think heels are stupid and back her up on this. They’re associated with all sorts of physical problems and in my mind are completely unecessary versus a professional looking flat. Then again, I hate the status quo on these topics.
Few things piss me off more than when I’m out in a city (or vegas), planning on a long night and the girls all wear heels and give you the same line (“No, these are comfortable heels.”) Without fail around 2am, they’re all rubbing their feet and putting a drag on the night because their heels hurt. When me and my friends go to Vegas in particular now, we mandate the girls put low profile flats in their clutches (now they prefer the system). They can have their heels and when the night gets good, they just switch over and everyone’s happy. Heels are an archaic and limiting footwear that’s right up there with the backwardness of restrictive shoes for females in ancient China and those idiotic neck rings they wear in Africa.
Then again, I also think suits are moronic and have refused to shave to the skin (irritates my face and my mood) at every job I’ve ever held so maybe I’m the weirdo.
She can wear a two inch heel! That’s not breaking anyone’s back. Really people. However, I will back down on this argument. The real issue is that it looks like mgmt is claiming she cannot look just as professional in flats. As mentioned above, this is perhaps more about T&A than sharp dress. I can appreciate that all gender specific apparel is meant to enhance that genders physique (T&A for women, broad shoulders and phallic references for men). That being said, with women not quite done with the fight for equal treatment, it is probably a good thing some speak out to make sure we don’t move backward on that front. I should probably thank this women. Because of people like her I always felt welcome to participate in male dominated activities. …and I can do it in heels! (If I want to)
Depends if she’s a client facing receptionist or an admin for someone who would rarely be seen by clients. If she’s the first person that greets clients when they walk through the front door, yes, she needs to adhere to a professional dress code. In this case, the employer seemed to be clear on what that meant as far as footware goes. And I would tend to agree that she should wear heels.
On the other hand, if she’s Don Draper’s assistant and really just answers his phone and gets him coffee, maybe it’s time to take a look at the policy.
And I really don’t care about the arguement about possible physical ailments caused by wearing heels. By definition, receptionists sit for most of the day. They aren’t pharma reps getting 40,000 steps a day.
aint that the truth BS. Every girl ever going out wearing the highest heels ever because they are sooooooo cuuute. Proceeds to find a place to sit all night long. Rather than just wearing more comfortable shoes to begin with and not ruining everyones night. Nothing is more annoying. Just take some pictures in your ridiculous shoes and change before you go out.
Anywho I think I would like to see the shoes in question, were they nice? If it was a nice pair of flats I think she has a gripe, this isnt the 1950’s.
This was the first story I read today (outside of AF) and I’m amazed how people make a mountain out of a molehill.
Employer stated it in the job description. If she can’t wear “heels” then go find another job. There are so many options to work this situation out. Invest in a nice medium heels shoe ( top brands heels shoes are REALLY comfortable) or just keep a pair of flat under desk. Most of the time she would be just sitting. I take off my heels while sitting sometimes.
To me, the most interesting part is how the company outsources its receptionists. This allows PwC to say “heels is not our dress code policy” and avoid the perception that they are involved, while at the same time demanding high heels.
I agree that if the employment contract demands a certain dress code, then she needs to evaluate that condition while accepting e job. However, if this issue wasn’t brought up in the interview and is just buried in the fine print, I think she is within her rights to say “is this really a necessary condition for appropriate job performance.” Maybe the result is that she gets fired, but e company can’t then turn around and complain about bad publicity from it, and she should be paid for time served.
The heels are necessary because it is the most professional looking shoe for women. This is the client facing office of an accounting firm in London. Their dress code is undoubtedly very strict. I’m sure the male client facing people don’t like to be strangled by a tie all day, but that is the most professional attire. No one complains of sexism because the women don’t have to wear ties.
We can complain all day that things are not fair. Some people are “not good test takers”. Others are not the right race. Some people don’t have dads who are partners at GS. You always have two options - you can withdraw because the system is not in your favor, or you can put on the heels and work a bit harder. In one of these scenarios, you get paid.