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.