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I am currently working a fixed days roster in a 50% contract. I have been successful at interview for promotion. However my company are only offering me a 50% flexi contract which means they write my roster a month in advance and dictate my working days. I’ve asked for a fixed pattern roster so I will know in advance which days I work. They have told me to take the flexi option or be passed over for promotion. Is that allowed?
I note from your question that you are currently working a “fixed days roster in a 50% contract”. I further note that you have been successful at interview for promotion yet your employer is only offering you a 50% flexi contract which you explain means that they write your working hours a month in advance and dictate which days that you will work. I note that you have asked for a fixed pattern roster so that you know in advance which days you will be working yet this has been refused and that you will be passed over for promotion if you do not take the flexi option.
A policy of only offering the roster you describe may amount to indirect sex discrimination if it disadvantages women more than men. Indirect sex discrimination is where your employer applies a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) that disadvantages employees of one sex without objective justification. However, your employer may be able to justify its decision in this respect by showing that its actions are objectively justified and that the PCP is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate business aim. If your employer is unable to justify its actions, you could succeed in a claim for indirect sex discrimination. Any such claim must be brought in the employment tribunal within three months of the discriminatory act of your employer. You must also go through the Acas pre-conciliation procedures before a tribunal will accept your claim.
I would suggest that, as a first step, you raise a written grievance against your employer’s actions. If this does not resolve matters, I would suggest you take further advice in relation to a possible tribunal claim.
Should you require any further clarification regarding the above issues then please do not hesitate to contact Tracey Guest on 0161 975 3823.
*Helen Frankland has helped in the answering of this question.