Hot on the heels of International Women’s Day, it is not an uncontroversial concept that men and women should be paid the same for doing equal work. Unfortunately, putting this into practice for employers isn’t always as straightforward as it might seem. Hence the rapid growth of equal pay litigation, which has seen claims against all the UK’s major supermarkets and other retail giants.
Equal pay claims are procedurally and legally complex, making them time consuming and expensive for employers to defend. The consequences of losing are also significant: an employer can be ordered to pay the differential in pay for up to six years, plus interest and/or damages. With the number of claimants in recent equal pay claims totalling up to 30,000, this is no small figure – not to mention the negative publicity, time and cost involved in managing such a large scale claim.
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