Childcare must be considered
Employers must take their employees’ childcare responsibilities into account when it comes to allocating shift work, a Telford solicitor has warned.
John Mehtam is the employment law specialist at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Euston Way, and he said the warning followed a case where an employee won a sex discrimination claim after her request for flexible working was refused.
“The employee had worked as cabin crew for an airline for 13 years, working full time on a flexible rota, meaning she could be required to work on any 22 days in a month.
“But when she asked to return to work after her maternity leave on a fixed, pre-arranged rota of 11 days a month, her employers turned her down.”
She said she had difficulty finding nursery placements for her child dur to her unusual working hours, and so was proposing flexible working or job sharing.
“Both requests were turned down by the airline, and after appealing to the company internally, she took them to a tribunal, saying that the working arrangements placed female cabin crew at a disadvantage compared to their male colleagues.”
Mr Mehtam said the airline told the tribunal that the employee’s request for flexible hours had been fully considered, but that it could cause problems. They also said they had a fixed rota system in place and shifts could be swapped.
“The tribunal judge said cabin crew work was dominated by women mainly of child-bearing age and so agreed they were placed at a disadvantage compared with men – so they allowed the employee’s claim for sex discrimination but she lost the claim for flexible working.
“This case could be extremely significant moving forward as it could lead to flexible working schemes being adopted by female cabin crew staff at other airlines across the UK and beyond.
“It will certainly give airlines food for thought when it comes to the way they allocate hours so they don’t breach discrimination laws.
“And it’s not just airlines either, as it’s difficult to see how any other industry could argue that it would not be reasonable for them to take people’s childcare responsibilities into consideration in the same way.”
Martin Kaye have provided advice in some highly complex HR matters and they continue to provide our day to day HR advice through their "ALPHA" HR scheme. They offer a very commercial and pragmatic approach and we have always been impressed by the level of service. The members of staff are approachable and easy to deal with.
Eurofilms Extrusion Ltd
Martin Kaye have provided us with employment and HR advice for several years and we have been very pleased with the level of service and quality of advice provided. We have no hesitation in recommending the team to any organisation which wishes to manage its employment related enquiries.
D Wauchope, Company Secretary
McPhillips (Wellington) Ltd
As a large employer of cleaning personnel, we require expert and prompt employment related advice. Martin Kaye's "ALPHA" service provides this in a clear and robust manner. We have been extremely impressed with the service and would thoroughly recommend them to any employer requiring expert HR & employment support.
J Conry, Chairman
It is important for us to create a close relationship with our advisors. Martin Kaye's "ALPHA" HR service is excellent. It enables us to work closely with our lawyers particularly in the complex area of employment law.
Johnny Hobeika, Operations Manager
Sanita (UK) Ltd
ALPHA is an excellent, reliable, professional service which is an integrated part of our business that we could not do without. This service is part of our structure and provides staff and business with the professional HR Support it requires - Invaluable
Martin Kaye are rated
out of 5
based on 21 testimonials.