Working mothers were recently handed the legal right to refuse inconvenient shifts. The new rights, under the Sexual Discrimination Laws, will apply to both the public and private sectors and be available to thousands of women.
This new right will not affect all companies currently running a shift rota. Companies with small staff numbers will not fall within this remit, however larger companies are likely to find themselves faced with women with young children being able to refuse to work earlies, lates and nights.
The tribunal said that the ruling would only apply to companies where there is a large enough pool of available workers to show that mothers are suffering discrimination by being refused the right to not work shifts.
The ruling stated that women were more likely than men to be looking after children, and so by not allowing them to meet their child care responsibilities is a discrimination against women. This new ruling will now form part of tribunal case law and is thought to spark more tribunal hearings from similar cases.
The ruling will not only benefit mothers, employers will not be able to concede the right to not work shifts to mothers and refuse fathers in the same position without risking legal action and a compensation claim.
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