Legal advice from Parveen Bunglawala, a specialist employment solicitor at FDR Law
Q: Women seem to be paid less than men doing similar jobs in our firm. Is there anything I can do about this?
A: Although there is an assumption that equal pay rates for men and women are now established practice in the workplace, some employers still think they can get away with paying women less.
However you have the law on your side. The right for men and women to receive equal pay for equal work is spelt out in the Equality Act 2010. And from the beginning of this month, Employment Tribunals can order employers, who have breached equal pay legislation, to carry out an equal pay audit. The employer must publish the results on their company website, if they have one, and keep them there for three years.
To succeed in a claim for breach of the equal pay legislation, a woman (or man) must identify a comparison role performed by a member of the opposite sex who is engaged in the same or similar work. It is for the employer to prove that the difference is not due to gender.
Claims can be brought by existing or ex-employees irrespective of age or length of service and if successful this could lead to back-dated payments being awarded. The right to bring a claim is time limited so consider taking legal advice before you lodge a claim.
Hopefully employers, who may be in the position of treating their male and female staff differently, will take a step back and examine whether their pay rates are as fair as they should be to both genders.
If they’re not, they could find themselves before an employment tribunal which is never good for a firm’s commercial reputation.
For all aspects of employment law, contact Parveen Bungalawa on 01925 230000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.