Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Summer holidays could lead to discrimination claims

Bosses are risking discrimination claims by showing preference to certain workers when granting annual leave this summer, according to HR and employment law commentators.

Stephen Seymour of HR, training and recruitment consultancy The Urquhart Partnership, said employees must be careful not to show favouritism at this time of year. He added: “Employers often feel obliged to allocate summer holidays to parents and carers but, at this time of year, many staff request time off so it is important not to show bias.

“All employees should be treated equally and having a policy in place with clear guidelines on holiday requests can minimise any confusion or resentment.

“A holiday request can be refused if there is a genuine business reason, such as no staff cover, and operating a first-come, first-served policy or a rota system could be a solution to this. Adhering to a holiday policy ensures fairness and equality in the workplace.”

Neeta Laing, head of employment law at law firm Lewis Hymanson Small, said employers can fall foul of employment legislation by treating some employees more favourably than others. She said: “Employers must be aware of causing offence when granting annual leave during the popular summer period. An added complexity is if employees request time off on religious grounds, which is also now protected under legislation.

“Having a very clear written policy in place to manage employee requests is very important.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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