Airline loses sex discrimination Tribunal battle

News Article

A major airline has lost a sex discrimination case, following its refusal to negotiate with an air stewardess over her working hours after she gave birth.

Flybe employee, Emma Seville, had applied to return to work on a part-time basis, following the birth of her son.

The 44-year-old had sought a fixed pattern of 11 pre-arranged days each month, so that she would be able to arrange the appropriate childcare for her baby boy.

However, her proposal was dismissed by bosses at Flybe, who said she could only return to work as cabin crew if she committed to working any given 11 days.

Ms Seville subsequently took her case to an Employment Tribunal, claiming these arrangements put female workers at a disadvantage compared with male colleagues.

Following the three-day hearing, Judge Lynne Findlay found in the claimant’s favour.

Ms Seville said: “It’s a great victory for the whole workforce. I was the first person to bring this to a Tribunal. It has been 12 months of hell but I knew it was absolutely the right thing to do.”

A Flybe spokesman said: “Flybe respects the decision of the Tribunal and will be reviewing Ms Seville’s situation in light of the Tribunal’s findings.”

Lara Murray, an Associate and employment law expert, with Palmers said: “As an employer you have a duty to ensure a worker’s rights under the UK’s employment legislation, which are not only extensive but complex.

“If your company is challenged by an employee who believes they are being discriminated against, it is vital to seek prompt specialist legal advice to find out where you stand and hopefully avoid a formal Tribunal hearing.”

For information on Palmers full range of employment law services for companies, please contact us.