In a landmark judgment on 24 October 2012, the Supreme Court has held that equal pay claims can be brought in the Courts, as well as in the Employment Tribunals. The case, Birmingham City Council v Abdulla (2012), involved 174 former employees who had left their employment with the Council more than 6 months before their former female colleagues won a finding that they were being paid less than their male counterparts for the same work.
The 174 employees were unable to bring their claims in the Employment Tribunal because equal pay claims in the Employment Tribunal need to be submitted within 6 months of the breach of the equal pay legislation, or 6 months from the date the employment terminated. However, in the courts, the time limit is 6 years, rather than 6 months, so the ruling by the Supreme Court allows Ms Abdulla and her 173 former colleagues to pursue their claims against Birmingham City Council.
The wider consequences of this judgement are of course that former employees will now have 6 years to bring equal pay claims after their employment comes to an end, not 6 months as previously. This will of course mean that employers who lose equal pay cases brought by a particular group of employees will now potentially face claims from far more former employees than they would have done before this ruling.
If you would like to talk through a situation you are dealing with, or if you need advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact any member of the Pure Employment Law team on 01243 836840 or [email protected].