Case Review: Single mother wins unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination claim

Recently, we successfully represented a client who was a single mother, pursuing against her former employer an unfair dismissal claim as well as a sexual discrimination claim.

Our client worked as an Office Manager for a Building Services Consultancy, on a part-time basis. As a single mother she had childcare commitments which prevented her from working in a full-time role.

Her employer decided that the role needed to become full-time, and made her redundant on the basis that she could only work part-time.

At the same time as dismissing her for redundancy, her employer decided to employ a full-time Office Manager.

We were able to successfully establish that by insisting that the Office Manager role be a full-time role, the employer was indirectly discriminating against our client who, for reasons obvious to the employer, could not take the position on a full-time basis.

By insisting on the Office Manager role being full-time, the employer effectively introduced a procedure criterion or practice (PCP) which had the effect of indirectly discriminating against our client, it being an established fact that most part-timers are women because they have family commitments.

“44% of women in employment in Great Britain work part-time, compared with 11% of men” (Hurrell, 2005)

In addition to winning her sexual discrimination claim, our client also succeeded in her unfair dismissal claim and recovered approximately £14,000 in damages against her former employer.