Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Sex discrimination at the Home Office

The Home Office has recently been found guilty of sex discrimination at an Employment Tribunal.

The discrimination was in the way it treated a woman who had time off while pregnant. The case centred around a maternity pay policy introduced by the department in 2007 which altered the criteria for qualification.

The Civil Servant in question had to take unpaid special leave in August 2006 and, after the birth of her baby, the department wrote to her to say that she would not qualify for contractual maternity pay.

The Employment Tribunal found that the policy discriminated against women because they were more likely than men to take unpaid leave. The judge decreed that the department had failed to consider the diversity related impact of the policy and condemned the timing of the letter to the employee as "extraordinary insensitive".

She was awarded compensation for loss of earnings and injury to feelings. The tribunal also imposed the maximum uplift of 50% on the department for failing to address her initial grievance.

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