What will be the impact of “landmark” equal pay ruling from the Supreme Court?

Employment law experts are now debating the long-term importance of a Supreme Court ruling relating to a discriminatory equal pay issue.

Birmingham City Council was appealing against a decision which said that women previously employed by the council could make an equal pay claim in relation to bonuses awarded to male employees.

Equal pay claims should normally be made through an Employment Tribunal within six months of the claimant leaving their job, and this was the procedural point Birmingham City Council relied on. However the Supreme Court has now decided that equal pay claims can be brought in the civil courts for a period of up to six years.

Industry commentators are suggesting that this is a “landmark” move which could bring a veritable tsunami of equal pay claims.

Tom Street of Do I Have A Case comments: “Employers may be more exposed now that aggrieved employees will have six years, rather than six months, within which to make a claim.

“However, in reality if you haven’t made a claim within six months of leaving your employer, you possibly aren’t going to, so I am not sure the extra time will vastly increase the numbers claiming. Importantly, what this decision might do is draw attention to equal pay rights that some people – and it is mostly women who will be affected – were not aware of previously.”

With women making up over 50% of the UK workforce, and with EU surveys highlighting that the British gender pay gap is above average within the European Union, this decision will absolutely have more impact on women than men.

Tom Street also notes that “claims brought through the civil courts rather than an employment tribunal are likely to be more expensive and therefore funding them may be trickier.”

If you feel the decision in this case will help you to make a claim for equal pay, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced team at Do I Have A Case FREE on 0800 014 8727 for an informal and confidential discussion.