Monday, July 22, 2013

News: Solicitor's warning over equal pay ruling


A recent legal case for equal pay could impact on small businesses according to Rotherham solicitors Oxley & Coward.

The case in question involved 251 classroom and nursery assistants comparing their terms of employment with male manual workers (refuse collectors and groundsmen). The men were paid substantial bonuses on top of their basic pay and the women claimed paying such bonuses to men doing jobs of 'equal value' was discriminatory.

When the case reached the Supreme Court, the judges ruled the tribunal's approach was exactly right and that whether or not it was feasible for the men to work in the same workplace as the women was irrelevant.

Having won the right to compare themselves with their male counterparts at other sites, the way is now open for the women to establish their work was of 'equal value' to those men they chose to compare themselves with. While another triumph for equal pay, the ruling could well impact on pay settlements in other sectors - with small businesses the most vulnerable.

Amy Cusworth, employment law specialist at Oxley & Coward, said: "The decision should be seen as a warning for all businesses to take a long hard look at their attitude to pay. Clearly it is now going to be a dangerous approach to favour one employee over another, thinking such things are private, when as this case shows, the reality is they rarely are.

"Having a pay policy that withstands transparency is going to be the safest route for the future. If the policy you have fails this test, then now might be the right time to start reviewing your approach to equal pay."

Oxley & Coward website


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