Ian spoke to People Management magazine about a recent finding of sex discrimination and unfair dismissal where the claimant's role was changed to include long-distance travel. 
The facts of the case 
As part of a restructure, Marston (Holdings) informed Perkins that she would be expected to travel as part of her role. As a mother of two, this would involve regularly arranging childcare for much longer days, and so Perkin's refused and was dismissed. 
The tribunal found that she had been unfairly dismissed and discriminated against because of her sex. 
The employer had not shown that there was a good reason to insist on travel. It's demands were not proportionate, as there were alternatives available.  
Our comment 
This decision demonstrates how important it is for employers to have a proper understanding of the law on amendment of contract, breach of contract, redundancy and sex discrimination. It also highlights the importance of following internal policies on grievance and discipline, as failing runs the risk of justified claims on multiple bases. 
It appears that the employer here did none of the above. Rather, it sought to impose new terms on the employee regardless of obvious flaws in its decision-making, clear provisions of the law, and reasonable objections from the employee. 
Employers must act within the law and proper procedure. If this prevents the employer's initial plan, they must consider other legal options or abandon the aim. 
The case is also a good reminder that an employer must be able to provide evidence to support their claims at the Employment Tribunal. Without evidence, the tribunal does not have to take the employer's word about potential consequences. 
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