Flexible working requests behind growing number of tribunal cases

The number of employment tribunal decisions relating to flexible working has leapt by 52% in the past year which saw a record high of 193 cases, up from 127 in 2019-20, according to research.

The findings suggest that the rise in the number of claims for flexible working may be driven by employees resisting attempts by employers to bring them back into the office.

Claims brought to the employment tribunals over flexible working are often brought alongside claims for discrimination.  Whilst some employers may not be too concerned about the financial implications of a failure to comply with this requirement (the maximum compensation if the employee brings a Tribunal claim is eight weeks’ pay, capped at the statutory maximum, £544 per week), the risks significantly increase where the employee brings a claim of indirect discrimination as well, challenging whether the employer can justify its reasoning.

This is most commonly framed as a sex or disability discrimination claim. Given compensation in discrimination claims is uncapped, getting things wrong can be a costly mistake.

Should you receive a flexible working request ensure that you manage it in line with your Flexible Working policy giving due time and attention in managing this. 121 HR Solutions are always on hand to provide practical advice and support in managing such situations.

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