Comment from Fox Lawyers following yesterdays High Court ruling on equal pay
Comment from Fox Lawyers following yesterday’s High Court ruling on equal pay
Comments from Emma Clark, Senior Associate at Employment law firm Fox Lawyers.
'The Court of Appeal has upheld a decision that they can consider claims from 174 (mainly female) former employees who believe they are entitled to bonuses that were paid to male groups of employees. These claims are usually brought in the Employment Tribunal but there is a strict 6 month time limit for bringing such a claim. Instead the employees filed a breach of contract claim in the High Court which imposes a far more relaxed 6 year timeframe to bring such a claim. The Court of Appeal had discretion to decide whether or not they should refuse to hear the claims as they were brought in the wrong forum. They decided that this was not appropriate and would have been 'an extreme exercise of judicial discretion'.
The employer has appealed this decision and it remains to be seen if the Supreme Court agrees with the Court of Appeal. What is certain is that, so long as they have a fairly good argument for the delay, the floodgates are now open for former employees to bring an equal pay claim in the High Court even if they are out of time to bring the claim in the Employment Tribunal. It is more essential than ever for those purchasing a business to ensure they have adequate indemnity protection in the sale agreement to cover any historic equal pay matters.'