01 September 2017 #Employment
Last October, we reported the Employment Tribunal decision that 7,000 predominantly female in-store Asda employees, who do work such as shelf-stacking and checkout roles, have common terms of employment with predominantly male warehouse-based employees, despite the different places of work and different job descriptions for the roles in question.
Asda appealed to the EAT. Yesterday, Asda’s appeal was comprehensively rejected. The EAT stated that:
This does not mean that the in- 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 if the roles really are of equal value for the purpose of equal pay law.
There is every indication that Asda will now appeal to the Court of Appeal. This is unsurprising given that the claims, if successful, could cost Asda up to £100m.
One other legal avenue by which Asda hoped to reduce the number of equal pay claims it faces may now be effectively closed. In June, the EAT found that including multiple claimants doing different work on the same equal pay claim form was a breach of the Employment Tribunal Rules. However, the central reason given for this was connected to the underpayment of Employment Tribunal fees, which have since been found to be unlawful.