Service requirements before confirmation of a new job or for promotion could
be discriminatory, even though the landmark ruling of Seymour-Smith went
against the employees, lawyers have warned.
Last month the House of Lords ruled that the two-year qualifying period
before gaining protection from unfair dismissal, introduced in 1985, was not
indirect discrimination against women.
The Lords ruled that the Government was justified to have a qualifying
period to make it easier to recruit.
But three of the five Lords ruled that there is a slight but consistent
tendency for men to work longer than women.
This means that, say, a five-year qualifying period for promotion may be
"You would have to justify it if you claimed you needed to be there for
five years for promotion: you would have to provide hard evidence," said
Linda Jones, associate at Wragge & Co.