How Do I Claim Equal Pay? - Paul Doran Law

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How Do I Claim Equal Pay?

Think you’re being paid unfairly? There have been a couple of stories recently that might help shed light on your chances of winning an equal pay case. Equal Pay

BBC Equal Pay claim

First, you have probably seen the news about equal pay claims against the BBC. There have been a whole series of them!

Broadcasters have long asserted that an individual’s fame justifies different pay rates for people who do similar work. Most recently, Samira Ahmed compared her salary with that of Jeremy Vine.

Initially, the Corporation argued that:

Between 2008 and 2018, Jeremy was paid £3,000 per episode for Points of View. Meanwhile, Samira received £440 for hosting Newswatch – an underpayment of £700,000.

In November, the tribunal found that the difference amounted to sex discrimination, because the work was “broadly similar”:

In recent years, the BBC has improved transparency about its pay framework, and made some progress on the gender pay gap. Meanwhile, the NUJ (her union) is seeking full back pay for Samira.

Hampshire Fire & Rescue Equal Pay claim

If you leave the company, and want to bring an equal pay claim, you have to do it within six months. If you win, backpay normally goes back six years (but can be more) as long as there has been a “stable working relationship”.

The Equality Act 2010 doesn’t define exactly what that means, so, if you have had a break in employment, or a series of different jobs, it’s not clear when the six-month time limit starts. It has previously been assumed that it starts running from the most recent promotion. This case shows otherwise.

Vicki Barnard started working at Hampshire Fire & Rescue as a Business Support Officer. She was promoted to the role of Fire Safety Officer, then Office Manager, and eventually, Community Safety Delivery Manager.

Vicki brought an equal pay claim going back to when she first worked there. The tribunal decided that the most recent promotion was covered under the six-month rule, but the earlier ones broke the continuity of a “stable working relationship”.

Vicki appealed against the decision. The appeal tribunal was not convinced that the responsibilities and pay levels for each role were significantly, radically, or fundamentally different. They decided that a series of promotions within the same small department should not break the idea of a “stable working relationship”, so Vicki is not prevented from bringing an equal pay claim from the outset of her employment.

The case has now been sent back to be heard at a different tribunal.

What this means to you

Equal pay legislation was originally devised to ensure that women are paid the same as men for similar work (and the other way around). There are two main lessons to remember from these stories:

Further reading

For more information on this subject, you might find our other articles useful:

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