How to deal with flexible working requests?
In the recent case of Thompson v Scancrown Ltd the Claimant was awarded £185,000 in damages when the Respondent refused the Claimant’s flexible working request upon the Claimant’s return from maternity leave.
The Claimant had worked for the Respondent for a number of years. On returning from maternity leave the Claimant requested to finish work an hour earlier in a flexible working request so that she could collect her child from child care. The flexible working request was refused on the basis that it did not fit with the business model, however no alternative options were forthcoming from the Respondent. The Claimant resigned and bought a claim for constructive unfair dismissal and sex discrimination.
The Employment Tribunal held that denying the Claimant the flexible working as requested amounted to indirect sex discrimination on the basis that she had been placed at a disadvantage to her colleagues.
"This case sets out how important it is for employers to get decisions in relation to flexible working requests correct."
Any employee can make a flexible working request as long as:
- they have worked for the employer for at least 26 weeks;
- they are legally classed as an employee; and
- they have not made any other flexible working request in the last 12 months
When an employer receives a flexible working request they must:
- look at the request fairly, following the Acas Code of Practice on flexible working requests
- make a decision within a maximum of 3 months
A flexible working request can come in a number of forms and depends on the individual’s circumstances. As long as the employer complies with the rules above then a claim can be avoided.
Get in touch
Should you need any assistance in relation to flexible working requests then please do not hesitate to get in touch with Lauren Cullen.
Our Employment team provides the full range of employment services to start ups as well as to recognised household names. We work proactively to develop the best strategies for you to deal with the complex issues that arise from employment law.