Equal Pay "Piggy Back" Case to Put More in Men's Piggy Banks

June 25, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A "landmark" legal decision involving three councils in the north east of England could pave the way for 12,000 men to pursue equal pay claims, the BBC reports.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that 300 male workers were discriminated against as they remained on lower pay than women who were previously awarded financial settlements for being paid less than men doing similar work. Confused yet?

The men, who were working in jobs such as care assistants, caretakers, drivers and leisure attendants, had lodged discrimination claims about bonuses paid to male workers in better paid jobs such as gardeners and refuse collectors, according to the BBC. This was at the same time as women in the lower paid jobs were also claiming that the bonuses were discriminatory.

The women’s case succeeded and they were offered financial settlements, but the men were not. This left them in a worse financial situation than the women, as well as the better-paid men, the Employment Appeal Tribunal found, and it ruled the men should have been offered the same back pay as the women.

The men’s “piggy back” on the successful women’s claims was described as a landmark ruling which will have a bearing on many other cases, and could cost councils hundreds of millions of pounds, according to lawyers involved, from the Cloister Chambers.

“There is no doubt that many of the similar 12,000 cases in the system will now proceed and are likely to be successful,” said one attorney, according to the news report.