Do employees have the automatic right to change to a more flexible working pattern?
If an employer has previously accepted requests for flexible working from female employees, and receives a request from a male employee that it does not want to accommodate, what are the risks of refusing that request?
Which employees are eligible for the statutory right to request flexible working?
Do the flexible working request provisions apply in relation to employees with adult dependants?
Can an employer safely ignore a request for a flexible pattern of working made by an employee who does not qualify for the statutory right to request flexible working?
How should an employer respond to a request for flexible working?
How should employers deal with requests for flexible working that are not made under the flexible working provisions, for example where an employee fails to follow the prescribed procedure or is ineligible to make a request?
Is an employee who is requesting flexible working required to provide proof of his or her parental/caring responsibilities?
What information should an employee's request for flexible working under the statutory procedure contain?
What should an employer do if an employee who has already submitted a statutory flexible working request subsequently seeks to amend the request?
If an employer does not consider an employee's flexible working application under the statutory procedure because it is incomplete, is the employee barred from submitting another request for 12 months?
Where a statutory application for flexible working is acceptable as it stands, is the employer obliged to arrange a meeting to discuss the request?
If the person who would normally deal with a statutory request for flexible working is off work, does this affect the procedure that the employer is required to follow?
Does an employee have the right to be accompanied at a meeting to discuss a statutory request for flexible working?
What happens if the chosen companion is not available at the time proposed for a meeting to discuss a statutory request for flexible working?
What redress is available if an employer fails to permit an employee to be accompanied at a meeting to discuss a statutory request for flexible working?
What is the companion's role at a meeting to discuss a statutory request for flexible working?
Is a worker entitled to be paid for time off work to accompany an employee to a meeting to discuss a statutory request for flexible working?
How should the employer respond if an employee fails to attend a meeting to discuss a statutory request for flexible working?
An employer in this situation is vulnerable to claims on two counts. First, the employee could claim that the flexible working provisions have been breached. Second, he could claim direct sex discrimination.
Under the flexible working provisions, employers must comply with the proper procedure for dealing with requests for flexible working. Requests can be refused only on one of a number of permitted grounds. If the request is rejected the employee may claim in the employment tribunal that the employer failed to deal with his request properly, or that it rejected it on the basis of incorrect facts. Therefore the employer must be able to demonstrate that it followed the procedure, and that one of the permitted reasons for rejecting the request applied.
A claim of sex discrimination is a potentially more significant risk. The employee may bring a claim of direct discrimination on the ground that he was treated less favourably than his female colleagues, because of his sex. The employee in this situation would have actual comparators that he could point to, to establish his case of direct discrimination. However, it would also be possible for him to argue that a hypothetical female comparator in the same post would have been treated more favourably. The employer cannot justify direct sex discrimination. It must be able to show that the difference in treatment was unrelated to the employee's sex.
Can an employer use a trial period to test whether or not a proposed flexible working arrangement would work?
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