international employment law firm alliance L&E Global
United Kingdom

UK: Flexible working requests: Remote/Hybrid working

In the Employment Tribunal case of Wilson v Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Miss Wilson, a Senior Manager at the FCA, who had been working remotely since the start of the pandemic, made a flexible working request to work entirely remotely after the FCA implemented a policy requiring staff to split their working time 60%:40% for remote/office working. The FCA rejected her request on the basis that, particularly in light of her leadership role, working from home exclusively could have a detrimental impact on performance or quality of output.

The issue for the tribunal to consider was whether or not the FCA’s decision was based on correct facts, i.e., that if Miss Wilson worked from home exclusively this could be detrimental to performance or quality of output. The tribunal concluded that the facts were correct, noting that the decision maker at the FCA had genuinely considered the merits of Miss Wilson’s request and that it was significant that she held a senior position with managerial responsibilities.

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-House Counsel

The tribunal’s decision was limited to whether the FCA’s reason for refusing the request was based on “incorrect facts.” Cases relating to hybrid working issues will be fact-specific – indeed, the judge commented that there won’t be one solution which works for all organisations or even for all roles within one organisation. Employers should ensure they take a balanced and considered approach to remote working requests.