back to article Capita call centre chap wins landmark sex discrimination lawsuit

A Capita man working in a Telefonica call centre has won a sex discrimination lawsuit against the outsourcing giant after bosses threatened him with a pay cut if he took paternity leave. Madasar Ali wanted to take paternity leave to care for his new daughter, Yasmin, but was told he would only receive two weeks off on full pay …

  1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Joke

    So, we have Capita unaware of the current regulations ...

    ... and how is it a news?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, we have Capita unaware of the current regulations ...

      Who said they were unaware? They will have been perfectly well aware of the change in the law, somebody, somewhere CHOSE to ignore the law, and the whole, stinking malodorous organisation that is Crapita have backed that decision, even as far as appealing the case.

      1. Mr Humbug

        Not unaware of the law

        If you read the judgement you'll see that Capita was not unaware of the law and in fact offered him Shared Parental Leave. But on statutory shared parental pay.

        The problem was that female employees who came over from Telefonica (under TUPE) could take 14 weeks' maternity leave on full pay. Male employees from Telefonica could take two weeks' paternity leave on full pay. In this case the medical advice given to the employee and his wife was that the wife should return to work (after the two weeks' compulsory maternity leave). The employee asked to take the 12 weeks' leave on full pay to care for the baby, which would have been no problem if he were female.

        Capita argued that the entire 14 weeks' paid leave was to do with recovering from childbirth and so, as he had not given birth, the employee was not entitled to it. The tribunal found Capita's refusal to be direct discrimination because only the first two weeks (compulsory maternity leave) is directly to do with the birth. The remaining 12 weeks' leave was to care for the new baby, which could equally be done by either parent.

        Capita then appears to have very poorly handled his grievance, caused him a lot of stress for which the doctor signed him off sick, and then tried to manage him out of the business when he returned to work.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hm... Just how many companies Capita operates HR and Benefits for...

    Crapita is operating HR services and various forms of "Benefit Baskets" for anything between several hundred if not thousand of government entities and companies accounting for hundreds of thousands of workers.

    I am going to make an educated guess - they have this one f*** up across most of them. Pity UK law does not allow to take them to the cleaners wholesale on this one and they have to be given kicking on a one-off basis.

  3. Esme
    Pint

    Nice to see a win in favour of equality of treatment!

    Lefty feminist clocking in, etc.. Nice one, Mr Madasar Ali, well done! The sooner (and more often) dinosaurs like Crapita are given a right kicking over blatantly unequal treatement like this the better!

    I'd like to buy that man a beer (or suitable substitute if he's a teetotaler)!

    1. Natalie Gritpants

      Re: Nice to see a win in favour of equality of treatment!

      Given that he is on paternity leave, I'd suggest a coffee.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nice to see a win in favour of equality of treatment!

        Extra strong coffee!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nice to see a win in favour of equality of treatment!

          No coffee, more like a few hours of sleep from time to time for the chap.

          Speaking of first-hand experience.

    2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Nice to see a win in favour of equality of treatment!

      Esme, same here. The point of feminism is that we are treated equally, and Mr Ali was not. I am glad he won, but I know that his life will be a misery with Capita from now until the end of time, because that's what employers to.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: his life will be a misery with Capita from now until the end of time

        And that's changed how?

      2. Bernard M. Orwell

        Re: Nice to see a win in favour of equality of treatment!

        it's not feminism, it's egalitarianism - the accordance of equality of opportunity to all regardless of gender, race or social status.

        feminism is about advancing action to address the social inequalities that pertain to women specifically, in a similar manner to racism being about addressing inequities due to racial prejudice.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Nice to see a win in favour of equality of treatment!

          No, it most definitely is feminism.

        2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          Re: Nice to see a win in favour of equality of treatment!

          @ B M Orwell, you are not wrong. It's easy to be slack of speak and say 'feminism' is about equality'. It is, but you are specific and accurate. Ditto about race equality.

          1. Bernard M. Orwell

            Re: Nice to see a win in favour of equality of treatment!

            "specific and accurate"

            Cheers mate. This is the crux of my argument with the feminist movement, especially the so-called "second wave". Whilst feminism is often presented as a singular concept, in practice it is far from that. Feminism is an entirely different thing depending on your social and cultural viewpoint. If you're living in one of several middle-eastern countries then your feminism is likely to be focused on the treatment of women in politics or society, if its India then FGM may be your focus, in LA its likely to be whether your campus toilets are gender specific or not, in NYC its about man-spreading, and in London its about the wagegap. Feminism means a lot of different things to different people and its only defining attribute is that its about women. If you take Feminism to mean equality (another poor word that I eschew in favour of egality, but that's perhaps for another post.) then it diminishes the value that it has; ie that it becomes representative of all instead of being focused on issues affecting women alone.

            Personally, I believe that a lack of egality underpins nearly all social issues, from race to gender to religion to class and only when we recognize that each member of our human race deserves the same opportiunities in life will we begin to break down these artificial borders that divide us. I think of this movement as an egalitarian one.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice to see a win in favour of equality of treatment!

      Careful what you wish for. This may have the side effect of moving more Crapita work offshore where inconviences like Maternity leave, Paternity leave, pensions and the rest don't apply. That means more profit for the crapita shareholders.

      As much as I admire a man sticking up for his rights, if I worked for Crapita in the UK, I'd be very worried about how long my job will exist.

    4. Nick Kew
      Big Brother

      Re: Nice to see a win in favour of equality of treatment!

      All employees are equal, but some are more equal than others.

      "Equality" has become one of those terms you can rarely take at face value. Like "democratic peoples republic", or "strong and stable". Or indeed "Justice".

  4. alain williams Silver badge

    Management speak ...

    Please can someone explain to me how:

    Capita Customer Management said: "We ... as an organisation that takes equal opportunities very seriously"

    and:

    Capita has lodged an appeal against the tribunal's decision.

    are consistent ?

    Why is it that women, supposedly, receiving less pay is screamed about in the media but men being disadvantaged is largely ignored ? Kudos to El-Reg for reporting it.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Management speak ...

      "...takes equal opportunities very seriously, we are disappointed with the outcome in this case on that part of the claim where we were unsuccessful".

      Double talk of the highest magnitude.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: Management speak ...

        "...takes equal opportunities very seriously, we are disappointed with the outcome in this case on that part of the claim where we were unsuccessful".

        I suggest that while it is double talk on a grand scale, there is a linguistic escape clause of sorts. We all interpret "takes equal opportunities very seriously" to mean that they support equal opportunities.

        Now consider this: "we take the theft of company property very seriously". Would any of us interpret that as meaning that they are fully supportive of the theft of company property? I suggest not.

        "When I use a word" said Humpty Dumpty", "it means what I choose it to mean - neither more or less"

        Conniving sods...

        1. CustardGannet
          Devil

          Re: Management speak ...

          @ Commswonk : well spotted sir (or madam). Crapita saying "we take equal opportunities very seriously" is as valid as the KKK saying "we take mixed-race marriages VERY seriously".

          'Spawn of Satan' icon, natch.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. My other car is an IAV Stryker
      FAIL

      Re: Management speak ...

      "Why is it that women, supposedly, receiving less pay is screamed about in the media but men being disadvantaged is largely ignored ?"

      Ah, to live in the United States of Capitalism, where I used my own two weeks of vacation for helping the missus through the first -- and roughest -- two weeks post-partum, three times in the span of five years. (All happy and healthy kids, they are, thankfully.)

      To get just those TWO weeks paid without docking MY vacation would have been a huge blessing. Six or more weeks would have been inconceivable and indescribable!

      The only GOOD thing that came of it financially was that the second time through, my boss said I got the advancement I had hoped for to "senior" level, so my "vacation" was earned at the new, higher rate. I give him alone all the credit; none to "the company".

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Management speak ...

      > Please can someone explain to me how:

      > Capita Customer Management said: "We ... as an organisation that takes equal opportunities very seriously"

      They said they take it very seriously, not that they supported it or viewed it in a positive light.

      Hence why:

      > Capita has lodged an appeal against the tribunal's decision.

      And why:

      > we are disappointed with the outcome in this case on that part of the claim [the ⅚th of it—AC] where we were unsuccessful

      Maybe it's just me, but I feel that a company that is so blatantly in violation, if not contempt, of employment law should not be allowed to work for the government.

      And btw, I speak as an employer myself, not as an employee.

  5. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    "We ... as an organisation that takes equal opportunities very seriously"

    Except when it costs us money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "We ... as an organisation that takes equal opportunities very seriously"

      ... as a threat to our business practices and so must stamp on this kind of thing without mercy.

  6. The Bionic Man

    Sticking it to the man

    It's a damn shame it had to go this far, it sounds like Crapita wanted to rewrite the rules in their favour, but the law said otherwise.

  7. regbadgerer
    WTF?

    Appeal grounds?

    Am I not right in thinking you've got to have some grounds to appeal? E.g. you need to show that new evidence has come to light, or argue that the the law was applied incorrectly or something like that? In this case it seems that the (current) laws were applied correctly and the bloke got what he was entitled to (legally and morally).

    We've spent years fighting for women's equality, glad to see we've remembered to fight for men's quality now too.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Appeal grounds?

      "Am I not right in thinking you've got to have some grounds to appeal?"

      Yes, that's how I understand it too. Saying they are going to appeal could be a long way from being granted a right to appeal. Since the law is pretty much cut and dried on this issue, any attempt to appeal may be refused.

  8. Fullbeem

    So much fuss for 3 months /14weeks

    1. whileI'mhere

      So much fuss?

      So much fuss for a principle, actually.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You've a down vote (NOT FROM ME). I'll be charitable and assume you mean all the fuss Crapital were making.

    4. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Facepalm

      > So much fuss for 3 months /14weeks

      RTFA: ...wife had been diagnosed with postnatal depression and she was advised by her doctor to return to work.

      These are darn important 14 weeks for the family. The company should get a fine for this (won't happen, I know).

    5. GrahamRJ

      So much fuss for saving a partner from being suicidal. Because she should just have been left to it, right? *facepalm*

  9. Goldmember

    Crapita

    It couldn't have happened to a nicer company.

    Let's hope the appeal falls flat on its arse, as they blatantly ignored the law in this case.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crapita

      sadly, they WILL take it out on the man. There's a quite a number of ways a large employer can make his life at work hell without him being able to pin it on discrimination. And he dared to challenge the Allmightly, All-knowing Human Resources :(

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Crapita

        he dared to challenge them, he resisted pressure put on him while escalating within the company's own complaints circus, and then, he won, thus publicly humiliating those (...) - IN PUBLIC! Oh no, such behaviour will not go unpunished! Also, to serve as a lesson for other little people who might get some silly ideas into their silly little heads... And their appeal just proves this thinking goes all the way to to the crappy top. Well, I do hope they get more media "exposure" around that case!

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Crapita

          I believe he did exactly the right thing (pint for when he can sleep again ->). In this day of search engines and background checks you'd have to be very brave to do this. This is probably even more the case involving a straight man who often face hostility from people claiming to be feminists who seem to oppose anything that might benefit a man.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This sounds like

    "we are an equal opportunities employer"

    We don't know what it means though, but it sounds like something we should be saying,

    1. Korev Silver badge

      They even have "Investor in People" awards shown on their website...

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        EVERYBODY has "Investor in People" awards.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My advice is

    Never leave without having a job to go to, they will black list you from working in your field regardless of compromise agreements.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My advice is

      > Black list you

      Hahahaha. You seriously think Crapita can black list anyone. All you say is they were incompetent and everyone nods. I wouldn't even bother asking those tarts for a reference.

      Black list. Hahahahahhohohahaha

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My former employer handed their call centre over to Capita.

    We had a meeting at 9am where they told us - not discussed it, but told us - what was happening.

    At 10am I was printing my resignation.

    By 10.30am I'd collared my line manager and was working out my notice. Thankfully I was out of there before they took over, and by all accounts they absolutely ruined what was a successful operation with a good team spirit. The first task was to measure productivity on how fast you could ditch a customer, sorry "average handling time" rather than the success of a resolution. Then all the perks were scrapped - break areas, free coffee etc. It went from a really good environment to "battery advisors" where talking to your team mates was against the rules.

    Last I heard, the company actually spent money buying it back in to try and halt a tide of complaints and it's doing much better.

  13. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Dear Capita ...

    According to our database, you may be operating a sexual discrimination policy without a valid licence ...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Take equal rights seriouslly, until it costs us money

    "as an organisation that takes equal opportunities very seriously, we are disappointed with the outcome in this case"

    How can they say in one hand they take equal rights seriously but then when father asks for longer paternity leave which is in within the law they disagree with it.

    Corporations done care about staff or customers, all they care about is profit.

  15. RichardB

    Time to pop em out

    I guess that if everyone is right about this being likely to affect his career path with this employer, the obvious solution is to embark on the creation of a larger family, maybe look at taking shifts for the next few years - 4 weeks on, 48 weeks off, with 2 for the Mrs?

    If he get's his timing right so he is rostered over xmas/new year to take advantage of the public holidays and general feebleness of organisations at that time of year, management might struggle to schedule too much vindictiveness into the small work windows in his schedule.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hell to nice a description

    Having been outsourced to Capita and upsetting management by pointing out my TUPE rights my life was made an utter misery. After a couple of years the only solution for me was to leave. Nowhere I have worked in the 20+ years since has been anywhere near as sh1t as Capita. Well done Mr Ali, health and happiness to you and your family.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019