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UK Companies' High Heels Dress Code Faces Pushback

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

An office worker in Britain has called attention to a double standard. Last week, a London receptionist launched a petition to force her company to change its dress code. Back in December, Nicola Thorp, working as a temp, was sent home for wearing a pair of flats instead of the 2-to-4-inch heels required by her employer, the temp agency Portico.

It is still legal in the U.K. for a company to require female staff members to wear high heels. Thorp's petition called for the rule to be changed. Her complaint struck a chord and quickly gained more than 100,000 signatures, according to the Guardian newspaper - so many signatures, in fact, that the government is now required to respond.

Hoping to duck charges of sexism, Portico has now changed its policy and said that its female employees may wear flats. Score one for sensible shoes.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE LOW SPARK OF HIGH HEELED BOYS")

TRAFFIC: (Singing) And the thing that you're hearing is only the sound of the low spark of high-heeled boys. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.