EOC calls for part-time rights for parents

The Equal Opportunities Commission is claiming that two sex discrimination
cases last week demonstrate the need for the Work and Parents Taskforce to help
parents work flexibly.

A former receptionist at Lex Retail Group settled her case for sex
discrimination and unfair dismissal for £8,000 after it refused to allow her to
work part-time following maternity leave.

Also a secretary at accountancy firm Hacker Young settled her claim for
£5,000. While on maternity leave her part-time post was filled on a full-time
basis and she claimed she wasn’t offered a suitable alternative.

Julie Mellor, chair of the EOC, said, "If parents had a right to have
their request to work part- time considered seriously then an employer who
turned down such a request would have to be absolutely sure they had a real
justification for doing so.

"The Work and Parents Taskforce needs to find ways of ensuring parents
do benefit from more flexibility at work."

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