The petition was started on Monday by 27-year-old Nicola Thorp, who recently spoke out about the "sexism" she said she faced in December, when she was sent home from work for refusing to wear high heels, the BBC reported.
Related articles from ABC News (USA).
The view in Australia is that anti sex-discrimination legislation would protect an employee from unreasonable and selective requirements for work clothing:
"An employer can set a standard of dress in the workplace as part of a reasonable and lawful direction; for instance, requiring someone to wear high-quality business attire," Herbert Smith Freehills employment partner Tony Wood said. "But a problem arises if an employer identifies a gender-specific requirement ... so, in this situation, directing females to wear high heels would seem to be offensive to most of Australia's anti-discrimination legislation."
And it may not only be women who could claim gender discrimination over employer-dictated clothing standards. In a previous case in the United Kingdom, a male employee won the right not to have to wear a tie to work after arguing at an industrial tribunal that it amounted to discrimination. His claim was upheld because it was determined that women in his workplace were not subjected to the same rigorous dress rules.
Australia's Human Rights Commission advises employers that rules regarding workplace attire could be discriminatory if they single out certain employees for different treatment because of their background, personal characteristics or gender.