0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Forgotten your password?

Breaking the glass ceiling

5 August 2011

Theresa May and Business Secretary Vince Cable recently sent out a letter to all FTSE 350 companies setting out the business case for increasing the representation of women in senior positions. It quoted figures which show that companies with more women on their boards outperform their rivals.

Before the stampede to fill their boards with women, employers should remember that the Equality Act stopped short of allowing positive discrimination. What it does permit is positive action to encourage an increase in representation where minorities exist. Positive action is limited to very particular circumstances, including when the man and woman are equally qualified.

The government will be hoping that this guidance will encourage firms to promote more women to senior positions, without the need to pass additional legislation. However, as the law currently stands, firms will need to be careful if they wish to promote based on gender rather than competency, as this could lead to claims of discrimination from male candidates.

Related opinions

Employment Appeal Tribunal rules no entitlement to pay for zero-hour worker during a period of suspension

In a recent case the Employment Appeal Tribunal determined that, as a zero-hour worker, the Claimant was not entitled to be paid whilst he was suspended pending an investigation into an allegation of misconduct.

View blog

Flexible working and leave for carers

The Government has launched a consultation today on potential changes to the statutory flexible working regime.

View blog

Importance of considering flexible working applications

An employment tribunal has awarded an employee almost £185,000 for indirect discrimination following a failure to adequately consider the employee’s flexible working request.

View blog

Potential care home vaccination challenge

Time is rapidly running out for those who will fall within the mandatory vaccination requirements applying to care homes from 11 November 2021 and who remain unvaccinated from Covid-19.

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up