Employee lost claim after being refused to work from home

A highly paid manager has lost his tribunal claim after being refused his request to work entirely from home, despite working remotely since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

The judge stated that this case raised a “key issue in the modern workplace and will no doubt be the subject of continued litigation”.

The employee in this case had submitted a Flexible Working request which was refused when the employer stated that it required all employees to work in the office for a minimum of two days per week. The employee appealed the outcome which was unsuccessful as the business identified weaknesses with remote working. The employment judge stated that this was entirely appropriate.

This case is unlikely to set a precedent for further cases as they will have to be based upon individual facts and circumstances. It should be noted that a flexible working request should always be submitted for good reason and be specific to the facts of the request and the role. However, it is anticipated that there could be more of these types of claims being litigated due to the increased number of employers requiring employees to work from the office.

Employers should ensure that they lawfully reject applications for flexible working. There are eight official reasons to turn down a request and it is recommended that at least two of the reasons are relevant to justify a request being turned down.

Should you wish to discuss flexible working requests and how to manage them, contact 121 HR Solutions on 0800 9995 121.

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