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BA flight attendant denied flexible working request wins case

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In the case of Daly v BA Cityflyer Ltd, Chloe Daly was a senior flight attendant with British Airways CityFlyer. Following the birth of her daughter, she put in a request for flexible working after being unable to find suitable childcare arrangements. This was made more challenging by the fact that her work rota was unpredictable and changed from week to week.

Ms Daly was invited to a meeting with the head of the team, Ms O’Neill, where she proposed several options and a six month trial period to see what best suited herself and the company. Overall, Ms Daly wished to reduce her working hours by 25% and have two set days off per week. Her husband was a teacher and therefore she could be more flexible during school summer holidays when he would be able to take over the childcare. She was also prepared to work one day each weekend.

However, the tribunal found that evidence showed that Ms O’Neill did not give proper consideration to the proposal and a letter was sent to Ms Daly rejecting her request. The reasons given were that the company would not be able to manage work among the team of in-flight business managers effectively and that it would have a detrimental impact on the quality of the service and performance.

Due to the lack of flexibility, Ms Daly resigned from her post. Employment Judge David Massarella said: “Ms Daly] would not be able to care for her daughter in the way that she considered appropriate, and would not be able to put in place affordable childcare arrangements around the full-time shift pattern required of her by the employer, including the refusal to agree to set days off each week, which made it more difficult for her to book childcare in advance.”

The tribunal awarded Daly £38,741.55 in compensation for unlawful discrimination, including awards for injury to feelings, loss of earnings and pension, and interest.

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