Harrods bosses told a black female job applicant that, to get the role, she had to straighten her hair chemically, a joint parliamentary committee has heard.

The Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee were informed that black women are being put under pressure to remove braids or straighten their hair to look more “professional”.

Other women told the committee that they’re forced by employers to wear high heels, dye their hair blonde, wear revealing clothes and frequently reapply makeup.

A report into the complaints calls for urgent action to address the issue. It says that, in practice, businesses are not following The Equality Act 2010’s law on discriminatory dress codes, leaving female workers unprotected.

The committee’s report calls for the government to amend the law and increase tribunal penalties while raising awareness in a publicity campaign.