A cautionary word to employers when deciding upon redundancy criteria and weighting. The tendency is, when faced with pregnant employees in the pool, to bend over backwards to accommodate them to avoid any sex discrimination claim.
However, this can backfire as Eversheds have discovered. A tribunal have ruled that they unfairly dismissed a male employee because it feared a discrimination claim if it dismissed a pregnant colleague. Both individuals were in a redundancy pool but, because the female employee was on maternity leave, she was given the maximum notional score for her ability to swiftly secure payments from clients.
This decision highlights the danger in actually treating an employee more favourably in order to avoid a legal claim. In a redundancy context, giving women absent on maternity leave inflated scores to counter balance their absence, when all other employees in the pool are given actual scores could lead to discrmination claims from the other employees.