A mother, who was told that she could not work flexible hours by her employer, has been awarded a £185,000 payout by the Employment Tribunal.
Alice Thompson was a former estate agent and had a successful career for 10 years, prior to falling pregnant in 2018. After returning from maternity leave, she had asked her employer if she could work a four day week and leave at 5.00pm, rather than 6.00pm, to enable her to pick her daughter up from nursery. Her employer refused her request on the basis that they could not afford for her to work shorter hours.
According to Thompson, her employer did not "seriously consider" her request and would not consider alternative flexible working options, with Thompson stating she was "shut down", "not listened to" and "not considered". She eventually resigned.
Thompson issued proceedings in the Employment Tribunal and successfully pleaded indirect sex discrimination on the basis that her employer's refusal to consider her flexible working request put her at a particular disadvantage because of her sex.
Thompson was awarded just under £185,000 in respect of loss of earnings, pension contributions, injury to feelings and interest.
Many employees will make flexible working requests after returning from maternity or paternity leave and it is important for employees to know their rights in relation to making flexible working requests and for employers to be aware of their options when considering flexible working requests made by employers.
It is therefore essential for employers and employees to seek independent legal advice at the earliest opportunity to ensure that requests are handled in the correct manner and to minimise the risk of protracted and costly litigation.
Our Employment team has a great deal of experience in representing employees and employers in unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal and discrimination claims. Our specialist lawyers provide clear, practical advice which is tailored to the client's personal and commercial needs. We are open and transparent with our fees, allowing clients to make an informed decision.
If you require advice on any area of employment law please do not hesitate to get in contact with our employment team to discuss how we can assist you. To arrange an appointment or for more information, please contact our dedicated Client Relations Team on 01603 693500 or email us using the 'Make an Enquiry' form on our website.
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*This article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice.