Flexible working requests – The tribunal rules on employer’s denial of request to work entirely from home

Thursday 22nd February 2024

An employment tribunal have recently ruled on an employer’s rejection of a flexible working request. In Wilson v Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), judgment was given on the FCA’s reason to deny the request and failure to deal with the request within the time limit.


Miss Wilson was employed by the FCA as a senior manager. She submitted her request to work entirely remotely in December 2022. She had been working remotely since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but following the FCA’s creation of a new policy to require staff to be in office 40% of working time, she requested a change to her employment terms.

Her request was initially rejected on the basis that working entirely remotely could have a detrimental impact on her performance or quality of work. Her appeal was also rejected. The process took 21 days longer than the prescribed three-month period.

Miss Wilson brought a claim against the FCA for failing to deal with her request within the time limit and that in reaching its decision, the FCA had incorrectly relied on the asserted detrimental impact on quality and performance.


The tribunal awarded the Claimant one week’s pay as a result of the FCA breaching the decision period time limit. Although the maximum compensation for such a breach can be up to eight weeks’ pay, the tribunal did not regard the delay as excessive.

The tribunal also ruled that the FCA’s decision to reject the request was based on the correct facts. The Claimant’s senior role and management of a number of people increased the potential detriment to her in-person duties that included meeting new staff, internal training, supervision and departmental needs, as well as attendance at in-person events, conferences and meetings. The judge felt the FCA decision maker had genuinely considered the merits of the request rather than simply enforcing the FCA’s policy and praised the detailed consideration and analysis that had been undertaken.


Cases relating to flexible working requests will be fact-specific and there won’t be one solution appropriate for all organisations. Employers must ensure they take a considered and balanced approach with requests.

It is likely that this area will be a hot topic for future litigation. Reforms set to be implemented in April 2024 will make flexible working requests a day one right of employment, and the current three-month decision making period will be reduced to two months.

If you would like further support with flexible working requests, please speak to a member of the Employment Team who will be happy to advise.