Flexible working countdown: 2 – Should employers offer an appeal stage?

In our penultimate look at the new rules and important changes to the procedure for dealing with flexible working applications we consider whether or not employers should offer employees the right to appeal.

While there will no longer be a duty on employers to offer the employee a right of appeal, the Acas Code of practice on handling requests in a reasonable manner recommends that employers allow employees the right to appeal against the decision (the code will be taken into account by employment tribunals in relevant cases). However, if an employer does not include an appeal stage in its process, it may be able to argue that it has handled a request in a reasonable manner if it deals with a complaint about the rejection of a request under its grievance procedure.

For example, the employer refuses an employee’s request to work part time, using one of the eight business reasons, and does not offer the employee a right of appeal. The employee informs the employer that he is unhappy with the decision as he is aware that a female employee, who made a similar request the previous week, was allowed to work part time. He believes that this is unfair as he too has childcare responsibilities. The employer informs the employee that he should raise his concerns under the organisation’s grievance procedure, and furnishes him with a copy.

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