A judge ruled in favour of 18 men who recently brought an equal pay claim against their current employer, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD). The men alleged they were being discriminated against due to their gender as female members of staff were being paid more than they were.

In addition to this successful equal pay claim, there have been a large number of similar claims being made throughout the public sector, with rumours of 400 staff working for Asda considering a similar action. So what does this mean for you and your business? Are you at risk from facing similar legal action?

In order to prove a case for equal pay, your employee will need to prove a number of things. First of all, they will need to demonstrate that their job is the same as the one they are making the comparison with. In the first instance, they will probably write to you asking you to explain your reasons for the inequality in pay.

Comparing a job can be difficult because the job does not have to be the same, just similar and where the same level of ability, skill or effort is being used, this may mean there are grounds for equal pay. However, if you have good reasons for not paying your employees the same salary or offering them the same benefits, you may be protected.

A job evaluation will help you to be clear about the similarities between job roles and you should also be aware of any differences in contracts of employees who have been incorporated into your business from TUPE transfers, as they may have grounds for an equal pay claim.

If an employee does make a successful equal pay claim against your business, they can be awarded up to six months of back pay and if the equal pay claim includes a number of employees, such as the recent claim made by 18 members of staff, the financial consequences to your business could be significant.

In addition, an ex-employee who has left your business has six months to make an equal pay claim, but your employees can bring a claim against you at any time. Equal pay claims can cause problems for you, so by being aware of this issue, you can take steps to protect yourself and your business.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our employment law services, please call us on 0800 142 2775 or reply to this email and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).