HR round-up: from the general election to reporting microaggressions

This week’s HR round-up covers everything from responses to the election result to a law firm’s action on reporting microaggressions.


Election result brings calls for action on multiple employment fronts

The general election result has brought calls from across the spectrum for prompt action on family friendly employment.

The TUC has called for immediate action on workers’ rights and ‘a swift end to 14 years of public sector pay restraint’. Matt Wrack, the president of the Trades Union Congress, called for a summit with unions to plan how the new government will deliver for workers, particularly with regard to Labour’s New Deal for workers which includes a range of day one rights, a focus on wellbeing at work and a move to allow workers to choose zero hours contracts; public sector strikes; and wages.

Other activists have called for an increase in parental rights. Pregnant Then Screwed demanded an increase in the number of childcare places available, an overhaul of the benefit system to ensure high quality, affordable for every child, the reform of the parental leave system so that dads and partners can spend at least six weeks with their new baby, an increase in parental pay, the normalisation of flexible working and the extension of the time limit to raise a tribunal claim from three months to six months.

Early years organisations repeated their calls for action on their staffing and funding crises. And wellbeing experts wanted to see the detail on mental health prevention pledges.

The new government has pledged to hit the ground running and has made over 60 pledges on employment issues, all of which it has promised to deliver within the first 100 days of taking office.

Wins for pregnant woman and mum in discrimination cases

A pregnant accounts manager has won £37,310 in compensation for pregnancy discrimination and unfair dismissal after being dismissed by her boss.

The tribunal ruled that Heather Todd, who had worked at 52 Street Events Supplies for 19 years, was made to feel like a ‘nuisance’ when she asked for her legally entitled pay before going on maternity leave.

Despite providing Shaun Collins, her boss, with the correct figures, he underpaid her and questioned her desire to return to work. Todd was eventually fired on a bogus charge of ‘misappropriation of funds’ and paid £635 less than she was owed during her maternity leave.

Employment Judge Rita Rogerson stated that Collins’ attitude towards Todd changed when she asserted her maternity rights. The judge also noted the impact of the dismissal on Todd’s financial independence, her children’s hobbies and her husband’s work-life balance.

Meanwhile, a mother of two won a sex discrimination case against a London property firm after her job offer was rescinded when her new employer found out her children’s ages.

Fong Fong Lee had resigned from her previous job to take up the role of senior marketing manager at R & F Properties QS. During a Microsoft Teams meeting, which was described as a “fresh interview” by the tribunal, Lee explained that her children were four years old and one was approaching one year of age.

Six days later, the job offer was withdrawn. The London South Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of Lee, stating that she would not have been asked the same question if she were a man. Lee was awarded £91,597.

Law firm launches anonymous reporting tool on microaggressions

Law firm Hogan Lovells has partnered with a technology platform that offers a secure, anonymous channel to log incidents such as microaggressions or interactional bias related to gender, race, sexual orientation, disability and more.

Penny Angell, UK Managing Partner at Hogan Lovells, said: “We know that there can be a reluctance to call out seemingly “minor incidents”, which may nonetheless contribute to someone feeling excluded or marginalised in the workplace. By embracing this technology, we can help ensure that every voice is heard, allowing us to review and act on trends over time and to foster an even more inclusive environment. ”

The firm says its work with InChorus complements other initiatives on diversity, equity and inclusion, including its worth FLAIR to measure and track racist behaviours, levels of racial awareness and inclusion barriers, is training for leaders in bias and microaggressions, anti-bullying and harassment and its mental health support.

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