The Court of Appeal has recently reminded British Airways Plc (BA), and consequently all other employers, of their legal duty not to treat a part-time worker less favourably than they would treat a comparable full-time worker.
The facts of the case are that Ms. Pinaud was employed by BA as a Cabin Crew Purser. Initially, she was employed on a full-time basis, but then in 2005, following her return from maternity leave, she became part-time.
It transpired that full-time Pursers had to be available for work for 243 days each year, whereas Ms. Pinaud, who was being paid 50% of the salary of a full-time Purser, had to be available for 130 rather than 121.5 days.
In 2015 she issued a claim through the Employment Tribunals for less favourable treatment due to her part-time status.
The Employment Tribunal agreed with Ms. Pinaud, in that she had to work more than 50% of the hours of a full-time Purser, but only received 50% of their pay. The Employment Tribunal felt that Ms. Pinaud could easily have been paid 53.3% of the full-time Purser’s pay to equalize the situation.
BA appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal and, as matters were still not decided in their favour, then to the Court of Appeal.
It was decided by the Court of Appeal that the Employment Tribunal had been correct in determining that Ms. Pinaud had been subject to less favourable treatment due to her part-time status. Accordingly, the matter has now been remitted to a fresh Employment Tribunal to determine the practical impact of such unfavourable treatment.
BA are understandably concerned by this decision, because not only does Ms. Pinaud’s claim stand at approximately £50,000.00 for the ten-year period during which she was unfavourably treated, but more importantly because 628 of Ms. Pinaud’s colleagues have presented similar claims, and they have been stayed pending the outcome of this case.
Potentially, this could be extremely costly for BA.
The lesson for all employers is to remember that all part-time workers they employ have the right not to be treated less favourably than their comparable full-time colleagues as regards the terms of their Contract of Employment, or by being subject to any other detriment by any act or deliberate failure to act by their employer.
If you have a query relating to this article, or indeed in relation to any aspect of HR or employment law, please contact Jonathan Moreland (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sharney Randhawa (email@example.com), or call 0191 3842441.