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Hybrid Working and Discrimination: What are the Challenges for Employers and How Can They be Overcome?

Almost three years since the UK first plunged into lockdown as a result of the global pandemic, the seismic consequences of that lockdown continue to be seen today, not least through the new model of working which has become prevalent in this country and, indeed, throughout the world. With almost unanimous agreement that hybrid working, in one form or another, is here to stay, what are the potential employment law consequences arising from this?

In this podcast, Partner Merrill April and Senior Associate Louise O’Connor consider whether employers are sufficiently prepared to meet the potential discrimination risks associated with hybrid working.

In particular, Merrill and Louise discuss:

  1. Can employers afford to reject the hybrid working model?
  2. How can employers meet their legal obligations towards employees who may be protected from disability discrimination, whilst they are engaged in hybrid working?
  3. Is there any clarity for employers on whether long Covid should be treated as a disability, and does the EHRC code provide any guidance?
  4. As discrimination protections continue to develop in the hybrid working area, what should employers remain mindful of regarding the risk of other forms of discrimination, including considering the socio-economic backgrounds of their employees?
  5. In light of our experiences working from home and hybrid working over the past three years, what should employers be carefully considering given the recent announcements regarding the proposed revisions to the flexible working framework in the UK?
  6. In the hybrid work era, how can employers take practical steps to attract and retain talent, ensure business efficacy and protect themselves from allegations of discrimination?

For more information on any of the issues discussed in this podcast, please contact our Partner Merrill April who specialises in employment and partnership law issues.