McGuireWoods London associate Adam Penman wrote three September articles on significant UK employment law issues.
Sept. 10, 2020, article in People Management magazine provided an update on legal
developments in gender reassignment discrimination. Though gender
reassignment is covered by the Equality Act 2010, which legally protects
people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society,
discrimination against transgender people remains commonplace.
Penman outlined three recent cases that have shone light on gender
reassignment issues, particularly in respect of recruitment and equal
opportunity policies and the balance between freedom of expression outside
the workplace and protection of those who have undergone gender
In another People Management
article, published Sept. 18, 2020, Penman examined employer considerations for
avoiding coronavirus-related discrimination claims.
As businesses determine their responses during the pandemic, there is an
overarching legal obligation to ensure responses do not adversely directly
or indirectly affect employees because of age, disability, gender
reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity,
race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.
Penman wrote that the “key for employers is to assess all foreseeable risks
and mitigation measures, taking into account any disproportionate effects
on certain groups of workers and to plan and consult with those workers
Sept. 15, 2020, article for Personnel Today, Penman explained that employers should take
care when making redundancy decisions during the COVID-19 crisis recession.
The UK has reported the highest number of job losses since 2008. With the
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (or furlough scheme), being phased out on
October 31, Penman wrote that businesses should consider their long-term
resilience and consider implementing alternative coping strategies to avoid
or reduce redundancies.
According to Penman, devising a redundancy process is necessary and
“employers’ failure to adequately plan redundancy exercises and implement
them fairly and indiscriminately will inevitably cause those employers to
enter into costly settlements with employees or face them at tribunal in