It’s always difficult to implement changes into an employee’s contract. For example, allowing them to work flexible hours can be quite taxing if there is a lack of cover. But if the employee is a long serving staff member, who is loyal and brings in clients, an exception can always be made. Recently a female employee at an estate agent was awarded a sum of £184,961.32 after the company director had refused her flexible working request. She had recently had a child and needed to finish an hour earlier each day (finishing at 5pm rather than 6pm) and only work 4 days a week. When the director refused the request, the woman resigned and went on to sue the company for “pregnancy and maternity discrimination, harassment, unfair dismissal and indirect sex discrimination.” The tribunal found that she had been put at a disadvantage and had been discriminated against by her former employer.
The oddest thing about this story is that it could easily have been avoided. In doing so, the company would have kept a loyal, hard working member of staff who has worked there for over 3 years on board. As well, that would have garnered trust and respect between the two parties. Instead it has resulted in a long case, one that originally started in 2019, and a hefty sum being paid out.
If you have had any staff members request a change to their hours, or have a member of staff that has recently announced they are pregnant, give me a call and I’ll offer any advice you may need.