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Waitress shares photo of her bleeding feet after working in high heels

A photo of a waitress's feet, bloodied after she was purportedly forced to work in high heels, has gone viral.

But the woman's employer, the JOEY Restaurant chain in Canada, says employees aren't required to wear high heels on the job, and in fact aren't allowed to wear shoes with more than a 2.5-inch heel.

The photo circulated online after it was shared on Facebook by Nicola Gavins of Edmonton, Alberta, who wrote that she is a friend of the unnamed employee.

"My friend's feet were bleeding to the point where she lost a toenail and she was still discouraged and berated by the shift manager for changing into flats (specifically told that heels would be required on her next shift the following day)," Gavins wrote.

The photo shows her friend's feet covered in liner socks soaked with what looks like blood, standing next to a pair of black high heels. TODAY has reached out to Gavins for more information about the pic.

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Britt Innes, vice president of marketing for the JOEY Restaurant Group, told TODAY she immediately reached out to the employee once she saw Gavins' post, which has been shared more than 11,000 times.

"After speaking with her, we followed up with our management team at this location and also sent out a company-wide communication to ensure everyone has the correct information and training materials around our policies and guidelines," Innes said in an email.

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She added that while JOEY Restaurants once required female employees to wear heels, the shoe guidelines were recently updated, and that might explain the confusion at this particular location, which is in Edmonton.

The current guidelines, updated in March, require both male and female employees to wear black, non-slip dress shoes with a thick sole for safety reasons. That can mean flats, wedges or low heels.

The previous shoe policy required women wear a heel that was at least a half-inch high.

As dress codes for women at Canadian restaurants have come under scrutiny recently, the policy was changed in March after JOEY Restaurants sought feedback from its own employees, Innes said.

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