Call us now 01473 688100

Piggy back equal pay claims

Posted on 9th July 2009
Case law

The EAT decided that a man may bring an equal pay claim on the back of a successful equal pay claim by a female colleague.

On this page

Meet the author

Julie Temple Julie
Temple
Partner Telephone: 01473 694407

A man may succeed in a claim where he compares himself to a female who has brought a successful claim

McAvoy & others v South Tyneside Borough Council & others [2009]


In this case the EAT has decided that a man may bring an equal pay claim on the back of a successful equal pay claim by a female colleague. As interesting asides, the EAT also decided that the 'piggy back' male could claim back pay for the same period as his female colleague and that a failure to offer a settlement to the male when other claims were settled was detrimental treatment.

Background

Under the Equal Pay Act 1970 males and females are entitled to be paid the same for 'like work', 'work rated as equivalent' and 'work of equal value'.

A large number of multiple equal pay claims were made by female claimants in the North East of England against a number of borough councils. They argued that their work was like work, work rated as equivalent and/or work of equal value to male comparators and that they were entitled to equal pay. A number of the claims were successful and the claimants were awarded back pay to make up the difference.

Some men also brought claims for equal pay. Their claim was that, if their female colleagues were successful in claiming equal pay and their pay increased, the men, comparing themselves to the successful female colleagues, would then be receiving less and would themselves be entitled to equal pay.

The decision

The EAT decided that a man may succeed with an equal pay claim where he seeks to compare himself against a female colleague who has themselves brought a successful equal pay claim.

In practice

The right to appeal the decision has been granted. It may be that this is not the last word. Practically, the case highlights the importance of equal pay audits, which if conducted could identify any inequality in pay and enable the employer to remedy the inequality without litigation. When conducting an equal pay audit, employers clearly need to consider comparisons between male and female employees who carry out like work, work rated as equivalent and/or work of equal value and remedy any inequality that exists. They also now need to go onto consider whether any inequality in pay arises from adjustments that are made to minimise the risk of so called 'piggy back' claims.  

Clear, concise and accurate information for employers and HR professionals

Visit the hrlegal archive

Find out how we can help you

Click here to contact us or phone us 01473 688100

Keep your legal costs down with

Professional telephone and email advice and guidance for solving your everyday employment law and HR issues

No waffle, well written employment law updates and HR news articles, including case reports, helping employers and people managers keep up to date with what's important

Our outstanding employment tribunal litigation service for employers designed to secure the best possible outcome for a value for money cost

Related articles