Two female cabin crew members have successfully brought indirect
sex discrimination claims against Easyjet. When the women returned
from maternity leave they made flexible working requests to Easyjet
as they were breastfeeding, and unable to express milk while on
shift. The women requested not to be rostered for longer than eight
hours at a time, which would have allowed them to express milk
between shifts, or carry out ground duties. Easyjet refused their
requests as breastfeeding was “a choice” and refused to
offered them eight hour shifts, despite receiving advice from four
different GP’s that this could cause mastitis (painful
inflammation of the breast tissue). The Employment Tribunal held
that Easyjet should have offered them shorter shifts, found the
employees alternative duties or suspended them (whilst still
receiving full pay).
This decision is a reminder to employers to ensure that they
have adequate arrangements in place to accommodate female employees
who are breastfeeding. It should not be an expectation that women
will give up breastfeeding upon returning to work after maternity
Some practical suggestions for employers include:
Implementing a written policy for women who need to breastfeed
whilst at work.
Ensuring that existing policies do not discriminate (whether
directly or indirectly) against women who breastfeed at work.
Being aware that women who are breastfeeding need adequate
breaks, and that not allowing such breaks may be detrimental to
their health. Ensure that letters from a GP are not ignored.
Ensuring that women who are breastfeeding have somewhere to
rest whilst at work (this is a legal requirement).
Providing women who are breastfeeding with suitable facilities;
for example, a private and hygienic place to express milk and a
fridge or storage place for milk.
Being accommodating to reasonable requests for flexible working
or additional breaks on a temporary basis. This is unlikely to
trigger the need for a new employment contract as breastfeeding is
temporary. If you do not grant a request, ensure that your response
is reasonable and that you give reasons for why the request is not
Dentons is the world's first polycentric global law firm. A
top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm
is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent
and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways.
Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the
communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows
that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully
completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business
challenge. Now the world's largest law firm, Dentons'
global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local,
national and global needs of private and public clients of any size
in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The event serves as high-level networking platform and gives all related parties active in the M&A insurance market the opportunity to connect and share their views. It brings together M&A insurers, transaction lawyers and tax advisers, private equity and corporate investors, and investment bankers. The M&A Insurance Summit aims to inform about new market trends, recent product developments and further business opportunities.
The Court of Appeal has held that where a contract of employment lacks a provision for when notice of termination takes effect, it is effective from when the employee personally takes delivery of the letter containing notice.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).