Posted on: Jul 23,2019
Brierley and Ors v Asda Stores Ltd  EWCA CIV 44
Over 7,000 predominantly female retail employees brought equal pay claims against ASDA in the Employment Tribunal.
The first hurdle to overcome in an equal pay claim is establishing an appropriate comparator. The female employees in this case relied upon male employees in the distribution line. The female employees argued that the work carried out by men in the distribution operation is of equal value to the work that they carry out, but the male employees receive superior terms and conditions.
However, Asda argued that its distribution and retail sectors are fundamentally different, because they:
Although the female employees cleared this hurdle, they still have a long race to go. The Tribunal will have to now determine whether the work of the female employees is actually of equal value to that of their male comparators. Nevertheless, employers in the retail sector could see an increase in equal pay claims being brought after this decision, as it highlights to employees that an appropriate comparator can be someone in an entirely different role and/or area of the business.
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