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Equal Pay claims and comparators

Last week the Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of North v Dumfries and Galloway Council. This has been a long running case with the key question being "who could be considered to be a comparator?" The Supreme Court interestingly upheld the original decision of the Employment Tribunal.

Female workers who worked under the collective agreement known as the "Blue Book" looked to use male colleagues who worked under the "Green Book" as comparators in their equal pay claim. The female workers were made up of 251 classroom assistants, learning support assistants and nursery nurses. The male workers included grounds man, refuge workers and leisure attendants. The female workers worked less hours than their male counterparts and worked only during school term.

The Tribunal decision was that test should be whether the female workers would have been employed under broadly similar terms if they worked at the same establishment as their male comparators. The Supreme Court decided that this was the correct test that should be applied. What this means is that it will allow female workers (and on occasion male workers) to have a far wider scope in selecting their comparators for their equal pay claims.

See here for the Judgment of the Supreme Court.

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