Earlier this week, an Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of Mr Ali in a sex discrimination claim against his employer, Capita Customer Management Ltd.

After his daughter was born prematurely, Mr Ali took his entitlement to two weeks’ paid paternity leave, and also took a further 2 weeks’ annual leave.

Mr Ali’s wife was then diagnosed with postnatal depression and was advised that a return to work may help her recovery.  Mr Ali therefore consulted his HR department to try to arrange taking more time off to care for his new baby to allow his wife to return to work.

He was told he could take paternity leave under the shared parental leave rules, but if he did so he would only be entitled to statutory shared parental pay.

Under the company’s maternity policy, female employees were entitled to enhanced maternity pay, giving female employees with 26 weeks’ service 14 weeks’ enhanced maternity pay, followed by 25 weeks of statutory maternity pay.  Mr Ali argued that he should be entitled to the same enhanced level of pay, over the same period of time.

He acknowledged there was a difference between maternity and paternity leave in the immediate two weeks following childbirth but said beyond that, male employees should be given the same right to leave and pay as female employees, which would in these circumstances have allowed him and his wife to choose who would take on more responsibility in caring for their child.

The Tribunal ruled in Mr Ali’s favour stating that the “caring role he wanted to perform was not a role exclusive to the mother”. They also believed Mr Ali was in the best position to provide the care, given his partner suffering with post-natal depression.

The Tribunal’s Judgment stated “…men are being encouraged to play a greater role in caring for their babies. Whether that happens in practice is a matter of choice for the parents depending on their personal circumstances, but the choice made should be free of generalised assumptions that the mother is always best placed to undertake that role and should get the full pay because of that assumed exclusivity.”

At Gorvins we have a highly experienced team of employment Law Solicitors who specialise in sex discrimination cases, if you feel you have been a victim discrimination by your employer please get in touch today on 0161 930 5101 or send an e-mail to employmentteam@gorvins.com.

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