Is it permissible for an employer to dismiss part-time workers in preference to employees on full-time contracts?

No, treating part-time workers less favourably than equivalent full-timers in relation to dismissal is unlawful under the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/1551), unless different treatment can be justified on objective grounds. Part-time employees should not be selected for redundancy because of their part-time status, unless this can be objectively justified. An employee who is dismissed because they wish to return from maternity leave on a part-time basis could bring a claim of indirect sex discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.