In Asda Stores v Brierley and ors, the Court of Appeal have dismissed an appeal from Asda that sought to challenge the rulings of the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal allowing Asda store employees to compare their role with higher paid warehouse staff for the purposes of their claim for equal pay.
This group action involves approximately 7,000, predominantly female, Asda store workers who are claiming equal pay with, predominantly male, distribution workers.
In order for the store workers to be entitled to compare themselves with distribution workers they needed to identify a ‘single source’ of terms and conditions between them.
It was accepted that there were differences in the terms of the store and distribution workers relating to the level of union involvement and use of collective bargaining. However, the Court of Appeal confirmed that the relevant legal test did not require all terms of the respective classes of employees to be common, instead it was sufficient that they were broadly common.
The Court of Appeal also upheld an earlier decision that found the ‘single source’ in this case was Asda’s executive board and sub-committee members who were responsible for budgetary control and oversaw the distribution and retail arms of the business at all material times. It was held that the executive board were responsible for the differences in pay and they had the power to set or change the terms to introduce equality.
Hannah Pryce comments:
“This is an important ruling relating to equal pay claims and will no doubt be seen as an encouraging development for those bringing similar claims against the large supermarket chains. However, this is only the first hurdle and Asda workers must now demonstrate that their roles are of equal value and that there is no reason other than sexual discrimination for the disparity in pay.
The case is a useful reminder to Employers to review their terms and conditions of employment to ensure they reduce their risk of similar issues arising.”
If you would like any further advice please get in touch with a member of the team.
The information on this site about legal matters is provided as a general guide only. Although we try to ensure that all of the information on this site is accurate and up to date, this cannot be guaranteed. The information on this site should not be relied upon or construed as constituting legal advice and Howes Percival LLP disclaims liability in relation to its use. You should seek appropriate legal advice before taking or refraining from taking any action.