Workplace Dress Codes (High Heels) — [Mr David Hanson in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 6th March 2017.

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Photo of Helen Jones Helen Jones Chair, Petitions Committee 4:30 pm, 6th March 2017

I absolutely agree. Since the fees were raised in 2013, these cases have fallen off a cliff; they are not being brought any more. We have to remember that many of these women work in non-unionised workplaces, so a union cannot bring a claim. The Equal Pay Act was extended by unions bringing test cases on behalf of their workforce. That is not happening any more.

Ultimately, women must be able to enforce their rights. If only those who are well paid and in secure jobs can do that, not those who are low paid and in insecure employment, we do not have equality. If older women or women with disabilities are deterred from applying for jobs because of the dress code, we do not have equality. If women are forced to bear pain all day at work or put up with a toxic working environment, we do not have equality. If young women are subject all the time to comments about their bodies at work, we do not have equality. What our Committee thought would be a nice, limited inquiry exposed a number of issues in the workplace that will need further study and action by the Government.