Understanding a Sex Discrimination Equal Pay Case

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Pay Inequality
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Making an Equal Pay Claim

With Samira Ahmed winning a landmark equal pay case against the BBC, this is likely to spark awareness of potential inequalities in workplace pay.

It is always useful to understand the legal language and your rights in order that you can argue your case persuasively.

Some key words and phrases you might have heard when the news of Ahmed’s victory was reported include:

  • ‘like’ work – this is the term for when the job that you carry out on a day to day basis is directly comparable to another colleague who is the opposite sex
  • back pay’ – this refers to the payment that you will be entitled to from the date that you and your comparative colleague were carrying out the ‘like’ work from
  • ‘comparator’ – this refers to the person of the other sex that does ‘like’ work, that you have identified as the person you want to be compared to

Pay Inequality

Who Can Make an Equal Pay Claim?

If you can prove that you are carrying out the same work as your colleague but being paid less, then you can likely make an equal pay claim. If you are carrying out ‘like’ work to a colleague, regardless of your sex,  you should always be paid the same amount.

In the case of Samira Ahmed, the BBC tried to claim that she performed a ‘very different role’ from that of her co-worker Jeremy Vine. However, their defence failed in light of the evidence that the two presenters carried out ‘like’ work.  Ahmed’s work on Newswatch was found to be directly comparable to that of Vine’s on Points of View.

It is important that whatever line of work you are in, you receive fair pay. It is a legal requirement, because you cannot be discriminated against at work under the Equality Act 2010. This includes receiving less pay and other benefits than co-workers for no good reason.

Equal pay claims also don’t just involve employee salaries. If you receive less:

  • Pension benefits,
  • Holiday or sick pay,
  • Company cars,
  • Bonuses,
  • Overtime,

you could also make a claim.

In most cases, you should first try to resolve the issue by raising the issue internally. However, if your employer fails to act on your request to an equal pay audit fairly, you should look into taking further steps with the help of an employment law solicitor. Advice is free, and if we do take on your case we will do so on a no win, no fee basis.

Read more about these types of claims on our Equal Pay page

Get in touch today if you feel that you may be eligible for a sex discrimination equal pay case, and our expert solicitors can guide you through the initial stages of your case.