Employment Cases Update

Brierley & Ors v Asda Stores Ltd (Case No: 2406372/2008)

Date published: 21/10/2016

Application by the Respondent to have the Claimants' equal pay claims struck out. Application dismissed.

This concerned equal pay claims made by over 7000 claimants, overwhelmingly women, employed by the supermarket, Asda. They work in hourly-paid jobs in its retail stores. Most of those jobs are carried out by women. They are claiming equal pay with comparators employed  in the distribution depots, jobs done overwhelmingly by men. The claimants lodged their claims in the employment tribunal alleging that work they do is of equal value to their comparators and yet the comparators are being paid substantially more than they are. The claimants contend that this is an archetypal claim  of equal pay based on the fact that historically the work done by the women was always perceived as women's work and therefore thought to be worth less than the work in the distribution depots which was traditionally  perceived as men's work. They submit that the historical discrimination has never been corrected. Asda deny this and contend that there has been no discrimination and that accordingly the claims should fail on the merits.

The ET dismissed the application and ruled that the Claimants could use employees at Asda's depots as comparators. However, a decision on whether the jobs are of equal value is yet to be determined.

Read the full text of the ET judgment here