Birmingham employment solicitors recently won a victory for a mother of one whose employer refused to allow her to return to work part-time after a pregnancy (we read in the Post).

Emma Seville was a cabin crew manager for Flybe at Birmingham Airport for over a decade. She worked full-time on fully flexible working hours. After she had a baby in August 2015 she wanted to return to work on fixed part-time hours to fit around childcare arrangements. She made a flexible working request. Her employer would only offer hours that they would choose to fit in with their needs. This meant that every time the rotas came out she would need to make new childcare arrangements. It meant that she couldn’t juggle her job and her childcare responsibilities effectively.

She took her employer to the employment tribunal. The employment tribunal found she had been the victim of indirect sex discrimination against.

Indirect sex discrimination  (see our page on sex discrimination) is poor treatment because of something that tends to come with being a woman or that women mainly experience. For example, women have greater childcare responsibilities.

The practice of requiring full-time working or long hours that affects women more acutely (as they have the most childcare responsibilities).

Such practices are fine if they are justified, which is a legal term meaning they are no more discriminatory than they have to be in order to reach some legitimate aim. But in our experience, it is a rare case when part-time working or job-sharing cannot be made to succeed, with the right will.

This sort of case is familiar to employment solicitors up and down the country. Recently, our firm settled a similar case, where an employee resigned after not being allowed to change her hours or work as part of a job-share when her nursery’s opening times changed.

Emma didn’t resign and her employer will likely agree compensation and discuss working hours with her. They probably fought the case because they were hoping for a precedent that they could use with other employees in the country. Their bill for employment solicitors to fight the case is probably several times the compensation payment.

Image by Eddie, licenced under CC