Employers wrong to dismiss worker who could not take on a full-time role

The Employment Tribunal has ruled that an employee was unfairly dismissed after her company diluted her job share arrangement and created new roles that were only available to full time workers.

The case involved an employee of Capita Customer Management Limited named Mrs J McBride. She worked as head of quality and compliance before taking maternity leave in April 2015.

She returned to work two years later and resumed her duties, but soon needed a flexible working arrangement, as her son’s health was not good.

Her line manager proposed that a job share with another colleague could be the best solution, and McBride agreed to try it.

However, the job share quickly became diluted with McBride and her colleague being responsible for separate projects.

The company was in the middle of a turbulent time and her manager felt all roles needed to be held by full-time workers.

McBride claimed the job share had not been adequately tested. She was offered various roles with the company but turned them down on the basis that they were all on a full-time contract. Eventually she was made redundant.

She brought claims of unfair dismissal and indirect sex discrimination.

The Employment Tribunal ruled in her favour. It said that Capita had not given the job share set-up an adequate chance to work and had provided no evidence that the full-time system would be more productive.

In summary, Judge Little said: “A reasonable employer would not have reached the conclusion that the role worked most effectively ‘with full-time coverage’ unless it was in possession of evidence which supported that observation or conclusion.”

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