Opinion

Gender Pay Gap

19th January 2018

In a recent decision, a female sales manager who was not paid the same as a male sales manager won £12,854.00 in compensation from her previous employer.

Miss Smith joined the firm as a sales manager in March 2013 and held the same position as a sales manager as her male colleague, Mr Tucker, since summer 2014.

In January 2015 Miss Smith was being paid £36,267.00 per year, whilst Mr Tucker was on a salary of £43,947.00 – a difference of £7,680 despite the fact the roles they each had were exactly the same.

Miss Smith was informed that her salary would not be increased to the same as Mr Tucker’s as he was previously a senior sales manager on a higher salary and it was feared that Mr Tucker would resign if he was given a lower salary.

Miss Smith stated it would have taken her eight years’ worth of pay rises to reach the same salary as her colleague. Further, if Mr Tucker received another pay rise he would have been entitled to the benefit of private healthcare which Miss Smith would not have been entitled to for a further eight years.

Miss Smith brought an action against her employer, Neilson Financial Services under the Equal Pay Act and for sex discrimination.

Findings

The employment tribunal (ET) found that Neilson Financial Services had been in breach of the Equal Pay Act and had sexually discriminated against Miss Smith and she was awarded £12,854.00 plus interest. This amount covered the earnings Miss Smith did not receive whilst working in the same position as Mr Tucker.

Judge Andrew Gumbiti-Zimuto explained he had come to the decision as ‘there were no other material interest other than her sex that prevented her from earning the same amount as Mr Tucker’.

He also commented on the amount of commission Mr Tucker was receiving which was around £500.00 more than other employees.

Employer Considerations:

Miss Smith succeeded in her claim on the ground of sex discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. She was also able to bring a claim under the Equal Pay Act 1970 as the less favourable treatment related to payment of money regulated by a contract.

Neilson Financial Services did not consider the reason for the pay gap to be because of gender, they stated the reason for it was because Mr Tucker has been in a previous role and they did not want him to leave if he were to take a pay cut.

It seems that even if an employer does consider that the reason for a pay difference is due to gender, they should still be aware of this being a reason if it involves male and female colleagues who are carrying out the same role.

 

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