Sunday, October 2

A Palma judge recognizes for the first time the right to telework

Telework has become a right that workers can avail themselves of, as long as certain circumstances are met, especially if it is about reconciling work and family life. This right to work from a distance has been recognized for the first time by a Palma judge, who has handed down a ruling in which it obliges a well-known tourist company to allow one of its employees to work from home.

This first sentence resolves the lawsuit filed by a specialist telemarketer, who had been working for this tourist company for eleven years. This woman became a mother in 2017 and enjoyed a leave of absence that lasted for almost three years.

Coinciding with the declaration of the health pandemic and the mandatory confinement the woman requested her return to work, although he claimed his right to a reduction in working hours due to the need to take care of his youngest son. And he demanded that the work schedule be developed in the morning and that he be able to work from home. During the months of confinement, the woman worked from a distance, although in June she received a communication from the company, in which she was told that she had to work at the office headquarters, although the reduction in hours was accepted. The company justified that the de-escalation period had begun and that the necessary security measures had been applied to make it difficult for its workers to spread.

The employee did not agree with this order and appealed for her right to apply the equality plan that would allow the reconciliation of family, personal and work life.

Ante la refusal of the company the worker decided to defend their rights before courts and denounced his case in court. She appealed that the right to equality was not being respected and denounced that she was being punished for her status as a woman. The judge, while pointing out that it is true that there are discriminatory business practices between men and women, does not believe that the company has violated the right to equality. And this is because during confinement teleworking was imposed on all company workers, without discrimination.

However, The sentence also reminds that all workers have the right, because this is what the law establishes, to request that their working hours be adapted so that the reconciliation of work and family life can be fulfilled.. But also remember that such adaptation must be reasonable with the organizational or productive needs of the company.

In the case of that worker the magistrate considers that her request to continue working from her home does not represent any added difficulty to the organization of the company. It is emphasized that teleworking is not a new event for this company, because it was the modality that it had to apply in the face of the special circumstances that caused the health pandemic. For this reason, the judge does not even appreciate technical problems, as the company alleged, to continue using this work system, especially if it allows an employee to reconcile her work situation with her obligation to care for her young child.

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The magistrate delves into the personal situation of this worker and the difficulties that it represents for her to travel every day to the company’s headquarters. And in these circumstances considers that above all there is the interest of the minor and at the same time in the obligation that his mother has to take care of him. Given these specific circumstances of this employee and due to her special family situation, the judge, for the first time, applies the right that she has as a worker to continue using telework, thus avoiding the long journey every day to travel to the headquarters of the company.

On the other hand, the magistrate rejects, as the employee had denounced, that this work situation had led her to suffer problems of anguish, for which she even requested financial compensation.

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