In the latest installment of the equal pay claims saga, the Supreme Court rejected Asda’s appeal that shop floor workers could not be compared to workers in the warehouse.
The claim, which has been ongoing since 2016, involves some 35,000 claimants who work on the shop floor. The claimants are predominantly female and argue that their work is of equal value to the work undertaken by staff in the distribution centre (who are predominantly male) and therefore they should receive an equal rate of pay. The decision by Lady Arden in the Supreme Court upheld the decisions of the employment tribunal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal that a group of predominantly female retail employees could compare themselves to a group of mainly male distribution employees for the purposes of an equal pay claim.
The Supreme Court was careful to note that its decision does not mean that the claimants will be successful in their equal pay claim, but only that they could use the terms and conditions of employment of the distribution employees as a valid comparison. The claimants would still be required to show that they performed work of equal value and Asda would still be able to rely on any defence available to it.
We will continue to keep you updated about this ongoing case.