sex discrimination

ACAS Guidance on Redundancy and Pregnant Employees

But some no win no fee merchant somewhere will probably try …


ACAS, together with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has published a very helpful guide for employers wanting to know how to tread through the minefield of making a pregnant employee redundant. Called, unsurprisingly enough, Managing Redundancy for pregnant employees or those on maternity leave it’s a very readable and concise guide and explodes a few myths on the subject, such as that you can’t make a pregnant employee redundant.  On the contrary it is possible, provided it is done for a genuine redundancy reason, which doesn’t mean “we don’t have part-timers here” and reorganising accordingly to exclude her.  The Guide is no substitute for taking legal advice if you’re an employer or employee, but is a useful introduction to the subject.

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Don’t Call Me Darling

Last week it was reported that BA Air Steward Rothstein Williams, a Seventh Day Adventist, was not permitted to pursue his case for religious discrimination beyond a pre-hearing review at Reading Employment Tribunal. He complained that a female colleague had called him “darling” after asking him to collect some glasses during a flight.  He took offence and sued.

Mr Williams was also upset because he thought he was harassed for studying the Bible at work.

The Tribunal dismissed his claims, accepting BA’s explanation that “darling” was a convenient epithet to use because there were so many flight crew that they couldn’t be expected to remember everyone’s names. How about name badges then?

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Men Behaving Badly

In case it were needed, the Daily Telegraph today reported on a case where “laddish” behaviour in the workplace led to a substantial payout for the female Claimant, Miss Angelina Ashby, which included £15,000 for injury to feelings and £9,158 for loss of earnings.  Read the article for the details, but this case should serve as a reminder that this sort of behaviour just isn’t acceptable in the workplace.

Male workers made unpleasant jibes about her weight and appearance and viewed pornography online.  When she issued a grievance she was criticised for being too sensitive and “unmanageable”.  She won her claim for sex discrimination and constructive dismissal against her employers. There are no great surprises there.

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The Equality Act: Here at Last – Worth the Wait?

Today marks the introduction of the long-awaited Equality Act (EA10), a piece of legislation proposed by Labour and brought in by the current government.  Click here for the BBC’s story on it. Coincidentally perhaps, today also sees the general release of the film “Made in Dagenham” about the 1968 strike by women at the Ford car factory over sex discrimination and is credited with having led to the Equal Pay Act 1970.

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Redundancy Revisited

Redundancy hasn’t been in the general news recently, although Eversheds, the national law firm did hit the headlines when it was successfully sued by a male employee it selected and made redundant.  He alleged that he had been the victim of sex discrimination because he was not scored as well as a female colleague, in the same selection pool, who was on maternity leave at the time. She was scored more favourably because the firm feared doing anything else would have exposed them to a claim for sex discrimination from her.  Eversheds are appealing the decision.

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