Female HMRC employees ‘were not discriminated against’ over pay
A group of female employees at HMRC have failed to overturn a ruling that they had been discriminated against over pay.
The employees provided statistical evidence of the top pay grades. It showed there was a disproportionate number of women at the lower end of the bands, compared to the number of men at the higher end.
HMRC used length of service as a way to determine pay but had recruited a disproportionate number of women in recent years.
The Employment Tribunal held that measuring mean average pay was the only proper way to test whether one group had been disadvantaged compared to another.
It concluded that as the factor that determined pay was length of service, this should be the factor that was measured to find whether discrimination had occurred.
It determined that the female employees had not been put at a particular disadvantage due to their gender.
The employees appealed the decision, saying the tribunal had been wrong to make its judgement based on whether the pay difference amounted to a ‘particular disadvantage’.
A ‘particular disadvantage’ is typically a defined benefit such as a bonus or extra day’s holiday. It can be measured by comparing the proportion of men and women who are given that benefit.
The employees argued that in their case the disadvantage was not particular but a ‘semi-continuous variable’.
However, the Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the original ruling.
The correct approach was to adhere to the actual amounts paid to each person in the group by taking an average.
Please contact Simran Lalli for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.