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Part-time workers case study: A ruling of less favourable treatment

The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by British Airways plc against the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision in British Airways plc v Pinaud that a part-time cabin crew purser had been treated less favourably than her full-time comparator in relation to pay contrary to the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000.

Mrs Pinaud worked as a cabin crew purser (cabin manager who oversees flight attendants) for British Airways. Following her maternity leave in 2005 she made a flexible working request and went onto a part-time contract.

Mrs Pinaud had to be available for work for a total 130 days per year, however full-time pursers, in contrast, had to be available for work on 243 days each year. As a result, Mrs Pinaud had to be available for 53.5% of a full-time purser’s available days, however was only paid 50% of a full-time purser’s salary.

In 2015, Mrs Pinaud took voluntary redundancy and shortly after brought an employment tribunal claim for less favourable treatment under the Part-Time Workers Regulations. Her claim was upheld by the Employment Tribunal. The Tribunal found that while the part-time shift pattern had a legitimate objective, it was not necessary or appropriate means of achieving that objective. The Tribunal suggested that discrimination could have been avoided by increasing pay of part-time pursers to 53.5% of the full-time worker.

British Airways appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). The EAT held that although less favourable treatment was made out, the Tribunal had erred by failing to assess the practical impact of that treatment when deciding whether it was objectively justified. British Airways argued that the statistics showed Ms Pinaud actually worked fewer days pro rata than her full-time comparator.

British Airways appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and held there had been less favourable treatment on the basis that Ms Pinaud had to be available for 53.5% of the number of days in return for 50% of the pay.

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About the Author

Rajveer Basra

Solicitor

Rajveer is a Solicitor who works in the Employment team.

She advises employers, senior executives,…

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