17 October 2016 #Employment
More than 7,000 Asda employees have brought equal pay claims in the Employment Tribunal, alleging that in-store work such as shelf-stacking and checkout roles (predominantly carried out by female employees) is of equal value to warehouse work (predominantly carried out by men). They therefore allege it is a breach of equal pay law to pay those in-store employees £1-£3 per hour less than the warehouse-based employees. Asda is defending the claims which, if successful, could cost the retail giant up to £100m.
In June this year, there was a preliminary hearing for the lead group of claims to decide if the in-store and the warehouse-based roles have common terms of employment.
The Judgment from that preliminary hearing was released today. The Tribunal has decided that common terms of employment do apply, despite the different places of work and different job descriptions for the roles in question. Asda is currently considering whether or not to appeal.
Today's decision does not mean that the store workers are entitled to equal pay. It means that, subject to appeal, the case can proceed to the next stage, which is a hearing to decide whether or not the roles really are of equal value for the purpose of equal pay law. This hearing is expected to occur in the next few months.
Employers and HR professionals are expected to be watching with interest and we will keep you updated.
For further information on how we can support you with equal pay claims, please feel free to contact our employment solicitors on firstname.lastname@example.org