Employment lawyers are warning employers not to discriminate against those who stay at home, as employees begin to return to the office
Recent data from the Office for National Statistics showed how home working can negatively impact an employee’s earning potential, their chances of promotion and their likelihood of receiving a bonus.
This research was carried out before the pandemic and before the major shift to home working. The data indicated that home workers, on average, worked more unpaid hours than their office counterparts yet chances of promotion were fewer.
Law firm Parker Bullen warns that if home workers become less likely to be promoted, this could lead to a lack of diversity at leadership level and claims of indirect discrimination.
The lawyers are also warning employers that inequalities between office and home workers could start to show over the next six months, especially as people with disabilities and parents with young children are more likely to choose the home option.
Alana Penkethman, Chartered Legal Executive at Parker Bullen, said: “Businesses need to ensure employees are assessed according to the quality of their work, and not where that work is done. ‘Out of sight’ should not mean ‘out of mind’.
“Most importantly, employers should update HR policies to ensure home working doesn’t create any unfair disadvantages. Closely monitoring earnings, bonuses, promotions and training opportunities to ensure everyone is being treated equally is an important start to avoid indirectly discriminating against those protected groups who may be more likely to continue working from home.”