BBC presenter, Samira Ahmed, has been successful in an equal pay claim against the broadcaster for being paid less than a male colleague doing similar work.
Ms Ahmed took the BBC to an Employment Tribunal last year, claiming she had faced gender pay discrimination in her role presenting Newswatch. She alleged ‘failure to provide equal pay for equal work’ under the Equality Act 2010, seeking almost £700,000 in back pay, being the difference in salary she had received when compared to Jeremy Vine in his capacity as presenter of Points of View.
Mr Vine was paid £3,000 per episode of Points of View, almost seven times more than Ms Ahmed, who was paid £440 per episode of Newswatch.
The BBC argued that the discrepancy in pay was due to Points of View and Newswatch being ‘very different’ programmes and further argued that ‘specific market pressures’ necessitated Mr Vine’s higher salary. However, the Tribunal rejected the BBC’s arguments, ruling that Ms Ahmed’s work was equal to that of Mr Vine’s.
What is Equal Pay?
Equal pay is the legal right for men and women to be paid the same for:
- Doing ‘like work’ – work that is the same or broadly similar
- Doing work that has been rated as ‘equivalent’ or in the same grade
- Doing work of ‘equal value’ – where jobs might be different but require a similar level of skill
Employees can compare any terms in the contract of employment with the equivalent terms in a comparator’s contract. A comparator is an employee of the opposite sex working for the same employer, doing like work of equal value. However, an employer may be able to defend a claim if they can prove that the reason for the difference in pay is due to a genuine factor and is not based on the sex of the employee.
How to Claim Equal Pay
An equal pay claim can be brought by men or women. An employee who thinks they are not receiving equal pay can request the relevant information from their employer. If an employee cannot resolve the issue informally or through the formal grievance procedure, they may complain to an employment tribunal under the Equality Act 2010 while still working in the job or up to six months after leaving the job to which the claim relates.
Ms Ahmed’s successful claim will hopefully raise awareness of the right to equal pay and is likely to lead to more similar cases. Employers must ensure they adopt clear and transparent processes for determining rates of pay and ensure all decisions are recorded.
For more information on equal pay or how we can help you, please contact our Employment Team on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our Team will be in touch.