FCA Manager loses claim to work from home full time

Published Jan 20, 2024

The outcome of a recent tribunal case has shown that it can be reasonable for employers to decline requests to work from home full time if they can show the detrimental impact it would have on areas including performance, creativity and team management.

In the case, a manager, Elizabeth Wilson, who had been working from home full time during the covid pandemic argued against an FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) request for all staff to return to work two days a week.

She submitted a flexible working request in December 2022 asking to remain a home worker but this was rejected on the grounds that:

• There would be a detrimental impact on performance and the quality of output
• She would miss out on face-to-face training, department away days and meetings
• She would not be able to coach new employees, effectively contribute to management strategy meetings, nor be involved “in-person collaborations”
• It would be more beneficial to her and her team’s performance if she were able to connect with them in the office.

Wilson raised a tribunal claim saying the FCA’s outcome decision has been based on incorrect facts.

The tribunal found that for many workers technology is not well suited to replicate the exchanges that occur in planning meetings or training events when quick discussion occurs over various topics. They also found that it was reasonable for the employer to expect a manager to participate in face-to-face training, coaching and other similar activities and not being present could risk performance overall.

The judge emphasised that each case relating to requests for home working would need to be considered on their own merits but it does show that the expectations on a line manager are likely to be measured differently to an individual team member.