Does a requirement to work long hours have to involve actual coercion in order to amount to a provision, criterion or practice?
No, held the Court of Appeal in United First Partners Research v Carreras.
The Claimant was employed by a brokerage firm, and worked long hours. He was injured in a bicycle accident and reduced his hours, but after some time he felt under pressure to increase them again.
The Court noted that the Claimant's pleaded case was that he had been "required" to work long hours, and held that this does not necessarily carry a connotation of coercion, and might represent no more than "a strong form of request".
The Claimant's case was that it was made clear to him that he was expected to work long hours by a pattern of repeated requests, which created pressure on him to agree. This was capable of amounting to a PCP (in particular a "practice"), and was consistent with the Claimant's pleaded case of being "required" to work long hours.
Thanks to Will Young of Outer Temple Chambers for preparing this case summary.