Can long hours be discriminatory?

“Potentially” say the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Carreras -v- United First Partners Research.

In that case, Mr Carreras claimed that a requirement or expectation that he work late (often until 11 pm) amounted to a ‘provision, criterion or practice’ (PCP) for the purposes of disability discrimination. Following a serious accident, he was no longer able to work the long hours that he had before the accident, but he was put under pressure by the company to do so and feared he would lose his bonus or be made redundant if he did not comply. He resigned and claimed disability discrimination and constructive dismissal.

The Employment Tribunal dismissed his claims, but the EAT held that a ‘requirement’ to work long hours could be a ‘practice’ (or PCP) for the purposes of disability discrimination and overturned the ET’s decision.

In the light of this case, employers need to be conscious of the fact that ‘reasonable adjustments’ for people with disabilities can include reducing the number of hours that they are expected or required to work.