I have a two-year-old daughter and went back to work part time. My employer advised me that they were making me redundant after I had been working there from just over a year. I was a HR administrator in a facilities company working 2.5 days a week, the other half of the job was empty. My role has been advertised as full time and I was told I couldn’t apply as I haven’t got HR experience and the role is for an HR Administrator/Adviser. However, the person they have selected has no HR experience. They only advised me I would be made redundant after they advertised the role and offered it to someone else. They offered me a role as a full-time help desk administrator which was shift work. They knew already I could not commit to shifts, 8-4, 9-5, 10-6; this also includes working a Saturday and also taking phone calls at home. This would be impossible to do with a young child. Also the wage was less than what I’m actually on now pro rata. Is it worth me trying to put a case forward for sexual discrimination?
I note from your question that you were made redundant in August 2016 and you feel that your former employer unfairly handled the process and you now wish to know if it is worth submitting a claim.
If an employer does not handle a redundancy process fairly, this could result in successful unfair dismissal claims against it. I note that you had only been working for your previous employer for over a year at the point at which you were made redundant. In order to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal, you would need two years’ continuity of employment unless you can establish an automatically unfair reason for dismissal. This would include where an employee is selected for redundancy for a reason connected with pregnancy/childbirth/maternity leave. The part-time worker regulations also make it automatically unfair to select an employee for redundancy in certain circumstances relating to part-time status. Both of these issues would be worth exploring in more detail in your case. A claim for unfair dismissal must be submitted to an employment tribunal within three months of your dismissal and you would also need to go through the Acas early conciliation process before any claim can be lodged.
I note from your question that the other half of your part-time HR Administrator/Adviser role was not advertised and that a full-timer was recruited prior to your redundancy process even starting. I also note that you were told that the role would require experience and thus you were not suitable for half of that role, yet the full-time role was offered to an individual with no HR experience. In addition you state that the alternative employment offered to you was full time and was not suitable for you. With regards to your employer’s actions, you may have a claim under the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 (PTW Regulations) if you have been made redundant over a full-time employee because a part-time worker has the right not to be treated less favourably than a comparable full-time worker by being subjected to any other detriment, or deliberate failure by their employer. A complaint of less favourable treatment under the PTW Regulations must be presented to the employment tribunal before the end of the period of three months beginning with the date of the relevant act. You would also need to go through the Acas early conciliation process before any claim can be lodged.
Unfavourable treatment in relation to part-time working in the circumstances you describe could also give rise to an indirect sex discrimination claim contrary to section 19 of the Equality Act 2010 and if you could establish such a claim, it would be down to your former employer to show that their actions were a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. Please note that a claim for indirect sex discrimination has to be submitted to an employment tribunal within three months of the act of discrimination. Again, you would also need to go through the Acas early conciliation process before any claim can be lodged at an employment tribunal.
Before submitting any claim and due to the complexities of your case, I would recommend you speak with a solicitor as soon as possible and provide them with any documentary evidence in your possession so that they can consider the specific merits of your case.
Should you require any further clarification on the above points then please do not hesitate to contact Tracey Guest of Slater Heelis on 0161 672 1246.
*Helen Frankland assisted in answering this question.