Thu 28 Oct 2021

What else is happening in employment law? - November 2021

Our monthly employment law round up.

Half of mothers' flexible working requests refused

A recent survey of 13,000 working mums by the TUC and Mother Pukka has found 50% of flexible working requests made by mothers are not granted and those whose requests are granted often then face discrimination in the workplace. It also highlighted that significant numbers of women fear being discriminated against if they ask about flexible working either at interview or once in employment.  Although there is currently an open consultation looking at reforming the flexible working regulations, the survey suggests a lack of enthusiasm from employers for flexible working. In two recent cases claimants were awarded £40,000 and nearly £185,000 in compensation following their flexible working applications being refused. As such, it is very important that employers deal with any flexible working application properly and, if a flexible working request is to be refused, it is very important that the reasons for refusal stand up to scrutiny. 

Age discrimination affects 3 million over 50s

A report by Legal & General Retail Retirement and the Centre for Economics and Business Research has found that 52% of over 50s believe their age puts them at a significant disadvantage in the job market.  It is perceived that being overqualified, too close to retirement age or more expensive hamper recruitment in this age group. A guide for employers on recruiting older workers is available from the Centre for Aging Better.

BEIS publish report on likely impact of AI on UK labour market

The report - The potential impact of AI on UK employment and the demand for skills - looks at whether AI and related technologies will trigger significant structural labour market changes, how large the disruption to labour markets will be and what form it will take.  It concludes that changes may be relatively small over the next five years but could be more significant over the next 20 years. Those with higher education and skills level are likely to be favoured with professional occupations experiencing the highest net job gains alongside managerial occupations that require a "human touch". Sales and customer services, administration and manual occupations are likely to experience the highest rates of displacement as time progresses.

Challenge to 'discriminatory' facial recognition software

Uber workers are bringing separate employment tribunal claims alleging Uber's use of facial recognition to verify driver identity discriminates on the grounds of race. Uber uses the technology to log in drivers but it is alleged the system generates more inaccurate results for black and ethnic minority workers. That risks the workers' accounts being terminated.  The claims are being supported by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain and the App Drivers and Couriers Union.

25% of female financial services workers likely to leave workplace due to menopause

A recent survey published by the Standard Chartered Bank and the Financial Services Skills Commission has found 25% of women working in financial services and currently going through the menopause are more likely to leave the workplace and a further 22% are more likely to retire early. A significant portion of women also make a conscious decision not to progress to more senior roles or to reduce their seniority further contributing to the existing skills gap and gender pay gap.  The physical symptoms of menopause, pervasive taboos and a culture of silence in the workplace all contribute to the issue.

Sexual harassment continues to be a significant workplace problem

A new report by the Fawcett Society shows over 40% of women experience sexual harassment during their careers and, for 23% of those surveyed, the harassment increased or escalated while they were working from home. Disabled women were more likely to have suffered sexual harassment than non-disabled women and those from ethnic minorities (men and women) experienced higher levels of harassment than white employees.  68% of LGBT employees reported experiencing harassment. Recommendations from the report will form the basis of a toolkit for employers on how to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace. You can sign up to receive a copy of the toolkit here.

FCA set out expectations for firms using remote or hybrid working

The FCA has published a new webpage setting out indications of their expectations for firms who continue to use remote or hybrid working post pandemic. Requirements include ensuring remote working does not affect firm's ability to meet the threshold requirements for regulated activities or increase the risk of financial crime. Firms must also be able to prove satisfactory planning including that there is appropriate governance and oversight in place by senior managers in accordance with the Senior Managers regime, committees such as the Board and non-executive directors where applicable. The list of requirements will evolve as more is understood about how firms intend to operate and apply to both existing firms and those seeking to be authorised or registered.

Make an Enquiry

From our offices we serve the whole of Scotland, as well as clients around the world with interests in Scotland. Please complete the form below, and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

Morton Fraser MacRoberts LLP will use the information you provide to contact you about your inquiry. The information is confidential. For more information on our privacy practices please see our Privacy Notice