93.We conclude by reiterating our concern for the workers affected by discriminatory dress codes, many of whom are young women in insecure jobs who already feel vulnerable in the workplace. The Government has said that the dress code imposed on Nicola Thorp was unlawful—but requirements to wear high heels remain widespread. It is clear that the Equality Act 2010 is not yet fully effective in protecting workers from discrimination.
94.The Government has said that it expects employers to inform themselves about their legal obligations and comply with the law. This is not enough. We have heard evidence that, in certain sectors, breaches of the law are commonplace. Pushing responsibility onto employers to find out their legal obligations and comply is a strategy which is not working. The Government needs to do more and must do it quickly.
95.We recommend three main solutions to this problem: for the Government to review this area of the law and to ask Parliament to amend it, if necessary, to make it more effective; more effective remedies for employment tribunals to award against employers who breach the law; and detailed guidance and awareness campaigns targeted at employers, workers and students.
96.By raising this issue in Parliament, this petition has already done a great deal to raise awareness of the law among employees and employers alike. It now falls to the Government to continue the work that the petitioners have started.
23 January 2017