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A new ruling just made standing all day at work a lot easier for many people in BC. Thanks to a new amendment in the Workers Compensation Act in British Columbia, businesses are no longer legally allowed to require employees to wear high heels while at work, a practice that is found in many restaurants.

The B.C. government approved the bill this month, calling mandatory dress codes that specify high heels as a ‘workplace health and safety issue.’

In a news release posted by Premier Christy Clark and Labour Minister Shirley Bond, forcing employees to wear high heels in the workplace is credited as creating a number of issues. As outlined in the release, “There is a risk of physical injury from slipping or falling, as well as possible damage to the feet, legs and back from prolonged wearing of high heels while at work.”

The new amendment mainly affects women, with the history of dress codes in the workplace littered with ways women have been negatively targeted for decades, from short skirts, to make-up, to revealing outfits.

“In some workplaces in our province, women are required to wear high heels on the job. Like most British Columbians, our government thinks this is wrong,” says Clark. “That is why we’re changing this regulation to stop this unsafe and discriminatory practice and adding an enforcement element by WorkSafeBC.”

The new bill was introduced to the provincial legislature on March 8 by Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, who Bond recognizes in the new press release.

“This change will let employers know that the most critical part of an employee’s footwear is that it is safe. I expect employers to recognize this very clear signal that forcing someone to wear high heels at work is unacceptable,” says Bond.

The new regulation states that employers must put the safety of their employees first and determine appropriate footwear by considering the likelihood of “…slipping, tripping, uneven terrain, abrasion, ankle protection and foot support, crushing potential, potential for musculoskeletal injury, temperature extremes, corrosive substances, puncture hazards, electrical shock and any other recognizable hazard.”

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