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BA not to appeal further in flexible working case

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According to press reports, British Airways has decided not to appeal further in its flexible working case.

BA has already lost cases at both the employment tribunal and the employment appeal tribunal (EAT) and has decided not to go to the court of appeal.

The original case was brought three years ago by pilot Jessica Starmer, who had requested the right to work flexibly so she could look after her daughter.

Mrs Starmer had requested that her hours be reduced to 50 per cent. BA refused that request but said her hours could be reduced to 75 per cent.

Mrs Starmer brought her claim under the Sex Discrimination Act, which says it is discriminatory to apply a provision, criterion or practice which would be detrimental to a larger proportion of women than men.

The EAT decided that because she was only given the choice of working 75 per cent of the time or full-time, that constituted a detrimental provision.

BA always said its position was dictated by safety considerations and the need for its pilots to fly a minimum of 2,000 hours.

In a joint statement, BA and the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) said: “British Airways and Mrs Starmer have been able to agree a reduction in her working hours to 50 per cent.

“It is now three years since Mrs Starmer first asked to reduce her working hours to 50 per cent. Since that time Mrs Starmer has been working at 75 per cent and British Airways recognises the high standards that she has been able to maintain.

“Her flying experience has now reached a level which, together with other measures agreed with British Airways, satisfies its safety concerns and meets its high level of operating standards.

“British Airways and Mrs Starmer each recognise the need for flexibility on the part of employers to enable parents to balance the needs of a demanding career and family life. Both British Airways and Mrs Starmer are pleased that these issues have been resolved in a way that allows Mrs Starmer to progress her career as a commercial airline pilot and care for her children.

“In the course of resolving these issues with Mrs Starmer, BALPA has identified a number of issues relating to work and family life. BALPA will table these with British Airways, and British Airways will enter a dialogue with BALPA as part of its normal bargaining arrangements.”

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