Image of waitress’ bloodied feet goes viral, sparks outrage over alleged heel requirement

Posted at 11:08 AM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 13:12:59-04

EDMONTON, Alberta – No, those aren’t red flats she’s wearing.

A photo that has gone viral since it was posted online shows a waitress’ bloody feet following a shift in which she said her employer required her to wear high heels.

Nicola Gavins posted this photo of her friend’s feet after a restaurant training session on Facebook on May 3, 2016.

Her friend, Nicola Gavins, posted the picture to her Facebook page on May 3 in hopes it would bring awareness of fair labor practices.

The disturbing image was apparently taken after a restaurant training session.

Nicola Gavins says her waitress friend works at a location of Joey Restaurants in Edmonton, Alberta.

“Their policy is still that female staff wear heels unless medically restricted,” Gavins wrote.

She said her friend’s feet were “bleeding to the point she lost a toe nail and she was still discouraged and berated by the shift manager for changing into flats.”

The 21-year-old woman told the CBC that she was instructed to wear heels with a minimum 1-inch heel and maximum 3-inch heel.

When her feet hurt after her first day of training, she complained to her manager, who told her to a buy a nice pair of shoes.

In the photo, she wears a Karl Lagerfeld pair. She ended up quitting the job.

A spokeswoman for the restaurant company told the CBC there was a misunderstanding and the employee was not required to wear heels.

Guidelines only require male and female staff to wear black dress shoes with a non-slip, thick sole, the company told the station.

The Joey restaurant on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton, Alberta, is shown in a Street View image from Google Maps.

The Joey restaurant on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton, Alberta, is shown in a Street View image from Google Maps.

“Under this guide, they choose what is comfortable for them. There is no minimum height when it comes to our shoe policy,” Sasha Perrin, a communications manager for Joey, told the CBC.

The company was upset by the Facebook post and has reached out to the employee, the spokeswoman said.

The company has come under fire for the image, the CBC reported.

“I have many friends in the service industry and know loads of ladies who still earn great tips without having to sacrifice their comfort while serving. I’ll choose to continue supporting those establishments,” Gavins added.

The image was picked up by the Daily Mail early Wednesday and by late afternoon, it had been shared more than 11,000 times.

On Wednesday, Gavins wrote: “This is pretty overwhelming, thanks to all the awesome people that have shared my post. Hopefully we see some positive changes and fair labour practices for people in the service industry.”