A man who wore shorts to work — despite the dress code banning them — refused to accept his boss’s order to to put on pants. Instead, Joey Barge had something else in mind.
For the heatwave in the United Kingdom (with temperatures climbing to around 90 degrees Fahrenheit), the 20-year-old opted to wear “smart” navy shorts to his job at a call center. Barge tweeted his outfit, saying: “If women can wear skirts/dresses at work can I wear smart shorts like so?”
After the bottoms were called “inappropriate,” Barge was sent home to change.
The next day, Barge decided to protest the rules by arriving at the office in a colorful dress.
Predicting he’d be sent home, he was shocked to see an email from senior management telling “gentlemen in the office” that they could now wear three-quarter length shorts in black, navy or beige.
Barge called the rule change “a partial win” but still stuck to his dress for the remainder of the working day.
“I got sent home and told to change into appropriate clothing but it said females could wear dresses so hey ho!” he told the Daily Mail. “They said [my dress] was a bit too colorful and asked if I wanted to go home and change because they were letting us wear shorts because of my ‘protest’ — but I said I was happy to stay.”
Twitter users praised Barge for standing up to his boss and showing that men shouldn’t have to wear suits in the sweltering heat.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC), a U.K. regulator, has called for employers to relax dress codes during the heatwave, asking for workplaces to let employees wear shorts and flip flops.
“While many of us will welcome the sunshine and warm temperatures this week, working in sweltering conditions can be unbearable and dangerous,” TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady commented. “Employers can give their staff a break by relaxing dress code rules temporarily and ensuring staff doing outside work are protected. Obviously, shorts and flip flops won’t be the right attire for all workers, but no one should be made to suffer unnecessarily in the heat for the sake of appearances.”
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