McGuireWoods London labor and employment associate Adam Penman published an article in People Management on Nov. 15, 2021, about
the dangers of imposing policies that can impact everyone in an
organization, regardless of individual circumstance.
In his article, “Why Employers Need to Be Wary of Having Blanket Policies,” Penman reviewed the details of Thompson v Scancrown Ltd T/a Manors, in which a sales manager sued
her employer alleging indirect sex discrimination. The employee alleged
that she returned from maternity leave and applied for flexible working,
but her request was denied.
In its decision, the employment tribunal stated that having a blanket
policy in which all employees were required to work until 6 p.m. — later
than the usual closing hour at nurseries — put the employee at a
disadvantage when compared to male workers.
“The tribunal considered that the requirement to work 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.,
Monday to Friday, which applied to all employees of Manors, could, despite
progressive shifts in societal attitudes towards men taking a more
prominent role in childcare, put mothers at a disadvantage, as women remain
more likely to have primary responsibility for children,” Penman wrote.