In our weekly legal column, the Leader, with the expert advice of the team at GHP Legal, sets out to answer some of your problems. Today's question is answered by partner Robert Williams...

Is it discrimination if I was turned down for a job because of my sex?

Q: I work in retail. Due to Covid-19 closures there have been cutbacks and we are having to reapply for our own jobs or other jobs within the organisation. I was unsuccessful when I applied for my old job, so I applied for a job in the women's department. I didn't get that either and although they didn't say as much to my face, I have heard that I was considered unsuitable because I am a heterosexual male.

What they did say to me at interview was that all the other applicants were female, and they were surprised to get my application. So, it looks as if I could be left jobless, and because I only joined 14 months before being furloughed, I won't get any redundancy pay. Have I got a case for sexual discrimination?

A: You may well have a case for sexual discrimination, but first let's look at the redundancy issue. If your appointment started two years or more prior to the redundancy date and you have been continuously employed or furloughed with the same firm since then, you will be eligible for redundancy pay.

The entitlement amount of redundancy pay is half a week's pay for each full year if you are under 22, one week's full pay for each year if you are 22-40 and one and a half week's pay for each full year if you are 41 or older. If you received less pay than usual because you were on furlough, your redundancy pay will still be based on the pay you would normally have earned.

Regarding sexual discrimination, you should write a comprehensive account of your interview, stating as much as you can recall of who said what, and make an appointment to see an employment lawyer who can advise you further.

This question has been answered by Robert Williams, a Partner with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

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