REDUNDANCY SCORING DURING MATERNITY LEAVE
In Eversheds Legal Services Ltd v De Belin UKEAT/0352/10, the EAT has upheld a decision that a law firm discriminated against a male lawyer on the ground of his sex when it inflated the redundancy selection score of a female colleague who was on maternity leave. It was decided that pregnant employees and those on maternity leave should only be treated more favourably than male colleagues to the extent that this is reasonably necessary to remove the disadvantages occasioned by their condition.
Mr De Belin and a female colleague were put in a pool for redundancy and scored against five criteria. One of the criteria was based on the time between a lawyer completing a piece of work and receiving fees from the client for that work (known as “lock-up”). The relevant reference period considered by Eversheds was the previous 12 months however, during this period the female employee had been on maternity leave. In the circumstances, she was given the highest possible score whereas Mr De Belin was given the lowest possible score based on a relatively bad lock-up performance. Once all criteria had been scored, the female employee scored a total of 0.5 points more than Mr De Belin and Mr De Belin was therefore selected for redundancy.
The EAT, upholding the Tribunal’s decision held that, although pregnant employees and those on maternity leave should sometimes be treated more favourably than their colleagues, this is only the case to the extent that it is reasonably necessary to compensate them for the disadvantages occasioned by their condition. The employer’s decision to award the female employee a notional maximum score in respect of one of the selection criteria, while leaving Mr De Belin with his actual score, was not a proportionate means of removing the woman’s disadvantage.
An alternative, less discriminatory way of removing the female employee’s maternity-related disadvantage would have been to measure the lock-up of both individuals as at the last date on which the female employee was present at work.
This decision highlights to employers that they should not automatically give employees on maternity leave preferential treatment as the “safe option”. Instead, the potential ways of mitigating the disadvantage of maternity absence should be assessed and the most appropriate option chosen.
Wote Street People sponsors University of Winchester Resilience Award With Christmas nearly upon us, the ‘silly season’ starts – parties ramp up, office life slows down, and chat about what everyone is doing this year is as plentiful as the supply of festive bakes. But it’s not the most wonderful time of the year for[…..]
Another year is almost over and with less than 50 shopping days before Christmas, you may also be thinking about a career move in the New Year. Why not consider a job in Basingstoke? Located in Basing View, one of Basingstoke’s growing business communities, Wote Street People know what a great place Basingstoke is to[…..]
“Graduates want more from life – we know we’re going to live ‘til we’re 100, have five different careers in our lifetimes, so we want to enjoy ourselves.” The summer months always see an influx of enthusiastic graduates, fresh from universities and business schools across the UK; looking to establish their career path and land[…..]
According to the CIPD report, women over the age of 50 are the fastest growing segment of the workforce. So, why do so many suffer from age discrimination? Possibly it’s to do with the common, but sometimes misunderstood symptoms that affect lots of women between the ages of 45-55, including hot flushes, headaches, aches and[…..]
Maxine Hart, our Operations Director, won the ‘Above and Award’ at the Place to Be Proud of Awards, which took place at the Haymarket Theatre in Basingstoke recently. Destination Basingstoke runs the annual Place to Be Proud of Awards, which are hosted to recognise important contributions to Basingstoke’s community made by local individuals and organisations.[…..]