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Employment Law > Private Sector Equal Pay

Private Sector Equal Pay

Employment Solicitor Martin Malone discusses this issue which has caused a huge number of public sector claims and is now likely to become more prevalent in the private sector.

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Many people employed in the private sector do not know their rights when it comes to the issue of equal pay. There are two common misconceptions our employment solicitors hear from people seeking legal advice about equal pay in the private sector:

The first is that equal pay is a matter only for peope working in the public sector. This is wrong, equal pay is just as relevant an issue to people working in the private sector.

The second misconception that a claim against an employer in respect of equal pay must be made by a group or class of affected employees. This is also incorrect as equal pay claims can be made by individual employees, which is especially relevant for people who might be working in small and medium sized businesses.

In the past, many people were traditionally put off investigating such matters by pay secrecy clauses, which made it difficult to obtain the information they needed to build a case and also the threat of recriminations by their employer that could cost them their career. However this is no longer the case; in recent years, the introduction of the Equality Act 2010 has paved the way for people in the private sector, whatever their gender, to challenge their pay if they can demonstrate that they are being paid less than someone of a different gender (i) in the same employment and (ii) doing like work, work rated as equivalent, or work of equal value.

At Canter Levin & Berg, our Employment Solicitors can provide you with expert legal advice on equal pay and discrimination. If you choose to use our services, your dedicated solicitor will utilise statutory powers that require employers to answer questions and disclose information relating to salaries of, and the roles undertaken by, comparable workers. We will then advise you thoroughly as to whether you have a case, the value of that case and the legal protection that is afforded to employees bringing equal pay claims. As an employee, if you successfully bring an equal pay claim against your employer, you can recover the difference in pay going back up to six years. You may also be entitled to further compensation if your equal pay claim involved sex discrimination by their employer.

Equal Pay - Frequently asked Questions

How do I find out if a member of the opposite sex is being paid more than me?

If you have prima facie grounds for a believing that a colleague of the opposite sex is being paid more than you for undertaking the same work, you can find out the information needed to establish the facts by utilising the statutory questions procedure. Under this procedure, we ask carefully worded legal questions to your employer who then has to respond and disclose information from pay records if necessary.

I have a pay secrecy clause, does that mean if I lodge a questionnaire I will be in breach of contract?

No. The Equality Act 2010 renders all pay secrecy clauses null and void and introduces a mechanism for protecting employees who enquire about the pay of colleagues.

I am worried about making a claim - will it ruin my career?

If an employer treats you less favourably or dismisses you for enquiring about equal pay or bringing an equal pay claim, your employer would be guilty of victimisation and be potentially liable for unlimited damages in respect of your earnings for the rest of your career.

What are the time limits in an equal pay case?

In general there is no time limit unless the difference in pay has been rectified or you have left employment with the offending employer. If you have left employment or the pay difference has been cured you have six months to lodge a claim starting with the termination date of employment or the date on which the pay difference was cured. If you have been subject to a TUPE transfer, it is vital that you get in touch with us as soon as possible and take advice as to the effect of the time limit.

Equal Pay Employment Law Advice and Representation

We have a great deal of experience in dealing with complicated employment law issues including issues of Equal Pay. Our employment law solicitors have been providing advice to employees for over 30 years so we've seen and dealt with most employment scenarios.

Our solicitors offer up to 10 minutes free initial legal advice over the phone, so call us now on 0151 239 1000 or fill in an enquiry form on our website and one of our Employment Solicitors will call you back. Alternatively, we offer longer face-to-face meetings with a specialist employment law solicitor at our Liverpool office with prices starting from £100 (inclusive of VAT) for a 30 minute consultation.