Equal pay

Claimants and comparators employed at different establishments were ‘in the same employment’

Where an equal pay claimant seeks to rely on a comparator employed at a different establishment, the law doesn’t require there to be a ‘real possibility’ of the comparator doing the same, or broadly similar job at the claimant's place of work. 
North v Dumfries and Galloway Council
 

Equal pay claims can be brought within 6 years not 6 months

The Supreme Court has confirmed that former employees can bring equal pay claims in the civil courts for a period of up to 6 years (5 years in Scotland) after the end of their employment. Such civil claims should only be disallowed if a claimant’s reason for failing to bring the claim within the 6-month employment tribunal time limit was clearly an abuse of process.
Birmingham City Council v Abdullah
 

Pay differential preserved by incremental pay structure not breach of equal pay

If a difference in pay between a male and female employee had nothing to do with sex at the time they were recruited, the original reason for the man’s higher pay (greater experience) can continue to explain the differential some years later because of the incremental nature of the pay scale - and qualify as a material factor defence.

Secretary of State for Justice (sued as National Offenders Management Service) v Bowling
 

Out of time equal pay claims can be brought in the civil courts

In a potentially very important judgement, the Court of Appeal has held that employment tribunals do not have exclusive jurisdiction in equal pay cases. Such cases can be heard in the civil courts as breach of contract claims, regardless of whether the time limit for bringing such a claim in a tribunal has expired.
Birmingham City Council v Abdulla
 

Equal pay: proper comparators and the same employment

Female local authority workers have won the latest round of their long-running equal pay battle with Edinburgh City Council. But, as if to demonstrate the inordinate complexity of equal pay law and the length of time such cases take, the substantive issue of whether the women are actually entitled to equal pay has yet to be determined. The litigation began in 2008 and so far has been concerned solely with whether they can actually bring a claim and with whom they can compare themselves.
City of Edinburgh Council v Wilkinson
 

TUPE transfer was an effective defence to equal pay claim

Where there is a difference in pay between employees doing work of equal value, the obligation to preserve existing contractual terms on a TUPE transfer can be a sufficient ‘genuine material factor’ defence to an equal pay claim - and there is no general principle that such a defence will 'extinguish' over time.

Skills Development Scotland v Buchanan
 
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