It is predicted that there will be a surge in legal disputes over employer tendencies to consider those working in offices for promotions, over those working from home.
A 2020 study found that employees who worked mainly at home were less than half as likely to receive promotions – despite the increase of staff working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only this but those working at home were found to be 38 per cent less likely to get a bonus in industries where bonuses are usually paid.
A related study indicated that those employees who mostly worked from home were less than half as likely to be promoted than all other employees between 2012 and 2017.
Businesses ought to be cautious that all their employees receive and were seen to receive equal access to promotions, salary raises and bonuses.
While this practice may not appear discriminatory at first, employees could argue that they have not performed as well as their counterparts whilst they work from home due to a disability.
Therefore, employees could file for indirect discrimination in these cases. Though, employers can defend themselves if they can justify promoting office-based staff over remote workers.
To protect your business from these discrimination claims, we urge employers to set out clear promotion criteria.
With the continuation of employees working from home for many businesses and hybrid working becoming the norm, employers must also consider the consequences of clauses within flexible and home working agreements.
Some staff may experience a reduced ability to learn while working from home and most importantly, less contact with line management to discuss their progress or hard work.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, employers had the obligation to treat all employees equally – regardless of age, gender, disability etc.
Consequently, we are now seeing an extension of that right because of the change in place of work.
Employers must make sure that the new processes put in place still consider all staff in promotions and bonuses.
This is vital in engaging, attracting and retaining top talent in a rising climate of skills shortages and business vacancies.
Consider how the business demonstrates its policies towards diversity and inclusion. As well as this, try to ensure that there is no division between those office-workers and those working from home. This could ultimately encourage claims for unlawful discrimination.
At HR Caddy, we can guide you through the process of looking at your current workforce needs now and, in the future, especially when it comes to new hybrid working schedules.
For more help or advice, please contact us today.