Women told by bosses to wear more make-up and high heels because it's 'better for business'

By Sophie Jamieson

The survey found 8 per cent of women were told by their bosses to wear more make-up so they "looked prettier". Photo / 123RF
The survey found 8 per cent of women were told by their bosses to wear more make-up so they "looked prettier". Photo / 123RF

Women are being told by their bosses to put on more make-up, and wear high heels and short skirts to work, research has found.

One in five women said they felt that their bosses paid more attention to their appearance than they did to their male colleagues, a survey by law firm Slater and Gordon found.

Seven per cent of women said their bosses had urged them to wear high heels in the office or with clients because it made them "more appealing", while 8 per cent were told to wear more make-up so they "looked prettier".

It comes after one receptionist said she was sent home from her job at an accountancy firm for wearing flat shoes.

The survey asked 2,000 employees about how they felt their appearance was judged in the workplace.

Nearly half of men said their dress code was more clearly defined than women's and less likely to draw comment.

The survey claimed 28 per cent of women reported they had been advised that changing their appearance would be "better for business" while 13 per cent said they had decided to flaunt more flesh at work after suggestions by more senior employees to vamp up their appearance.

In 2016 there is absolutely no expectation that women in business should wear make-up or high heels in order to be smartly dressed.
Employment lawyer Josephine Van Lierop

In contrast over half of men said they had never received comments about their appearance and just three per cent had occasionally been told to dress smarter by their senior colleagues.

Current UK employment law states a dress code can be used but this is usually imposed for health and safety reasons, or to promote a particular image, for example, of smartness and efficiency.

It must not be discriminatory on protected grounds such as gender or religious belief, and disabled employees have the right to have adjustments made to alleviate disadvantage.

Employment lawyer Josephine Van Lierop said: "Under current UK employment law employers cannot treat one person less favourably because of their gender but there is no legislation to prevent employers from treating men and women differently in relation to dress code.

"Employers will argue that men and women must be dressed smartly or well-groomed for a person of their gender.

"However, in 2016 there is absolutely no expectation that women in business should wear make-up or high heels in order to be smartly dressed. Imposing this expectation on women only is arguably unlawful sex discrimination."

- Daily Telegraph UK

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 21 Feb 2017 03:08:43 Processing Time: 519ms