Male Employee Wins Employment Tribunal Claim for Discrimination
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June 3, 2010 — employmentlawatlawsonwest
In a recent case, a male former employee of a law firm, Eversheds, won an
Employment Tribunal claim on the grounds that he was treated less favourably
than a female employee who was on maternity leave.
The employers had devised a scoring matrix to be used for a group of
employees at risk of redundancy. One of the criteria in the scoring matrix
was related to performance. The male employee making the Employment Tribunal
claim had been scored according to his performance. However, the other
employee in the redundancy pool had been on maternity leave for the relevant
period. Rather than change the time period to one where both employees were
at work or take out the performance criteria, the employer decided to give the
employee on maternity leave the maximum score. This disadvantaged the male
employee who had been scored on actual performance.
The employer did not make it clear whether it would have treated an
employee on paternity leave in the same way so the employee won his Employment
The Employment Tribunal found that the employee on maternity leave had been
given an unfairly inflated score and that the inflated score had been given in
an attempt to defeat any potential Employment Tribunal claim.
Eversheds have lodged an appeal.
If a female employee had been treated less favourably because she was on
maternity leave, she can make an Employment Tribunal claim based on the Sex
Discrimination Act. Similarly if an employee is treated less favourably
because he was on paternity leave, he would be able to make an Employment
Tribunal Claim, particularly if he was dismissed on grounds of paternity leave
as this would make the dismissal automatically unfair.
Therefore employers need to take care that redundancy proceedings and
scoring matrices are fair and do not unfairly discriminate against employees
on maternity or paternity leave. If a suitable alternative job becomes
available, a woman on maternity leave must be offered it in preference to
other employees at risk of redundancy.
About the Author
Lawson-West specialise in commercial, business and employment law. Our
team of dedicated commercial solicitors can help with buying or selling a
business, business law and disputes, landlord and tenant issues and commercial
property. Our expert employment team can offer practical advice and guidance on
all aspects of employment law including redundancy, compromise agreements and
dismissal procedures. Visit
www.lawson-west.co.uk for more information.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-08-18 14:06:12 in Legal Articles