A Manchester employment tribunal ruled today that female supermarket workers can pursue an equal pay claim against ASDA. 7,000 women claim that they carry out similar work to men in the distribution centres who are higher paid.
The judgement clears the way for them to proceed with a claim for equal pay, which could see them recovering over £100 million dating back to 2002.
Our employment law consultant says: “Men and women can claim against their employer if they are paid less than the other gender for similar work. An employer has a defence of material factor, for example if the higher paid employees have extra duties, however, where people are doing the same or similar work then they should be paid the same.
“Let’s say for example a woman is paid £10.00ph to drive a bus and a man is paid £12.00ph to drive a bus. There are grounds here for an equal pay claim. If the bus company were to argue that the two drivers were on different routes they may struggle as, whilst there is a difference, it is not a material difference. If the male driver was paid the extra £2.00 because he drove at night/unsociable hours and this opportunity was open to both men and women, then the bus company may be able to argue a material difference in that they have to offer the increment to make night work attractive for workers.
“If in doubt you should always seek advice as compensation for discrimination is uncapped.”