If you’re doing the same job as a colleague of the opposite sex, but are being paid less, we know how frustrated you must feel. However, you have the legal right to be paid equally for doing equal work. Our solicitors can help you make an equal pay claim so that you’re being paid fairly.
Most equal pay claims are made by women who aren’t being paid as much as their male counterparts. But you may also have a discrimination claim if you believe you’re being paid less because of another “protected characteristic” such as your race, sexual orientation or age.
We’re here to help, call 0207 650 3999 to speak with our equal pay solicitors.
Who Can Make An Equal Pay Claim?
If you’re being paid less than a colleague of the opposite sex for doing equal work, then you may be able to make an equal pay claim against your employer.
“Equal work” is legally defined as work that’s either:
- The same or similar
- Of equivalent or equal value.
Equal pay isn’t just your basic salary, it also covers contractual payments such as:
- Pension contributions
- Holiday pay
- Sick pay
- Contractual benefits
- Contractual bonuses.
It’s common for equal pay claims to have an element of discriminatory behaviour behind them. For example, if you feel you’re being paid less as a woman with respect to discretionary pay in the same role as your male counterpart, or have been treated less favourably because of your sex. In these situations you would have the right to also make a sex discrimination claim.
However, there are some circumstances where differences in pay might be justifiable. For example if a colleague is:
- Better qualified
- More experienced or is more skilled
- Based in a location such as London, where there may be an argument that pay can be justifiably higher
- Hired at a time when market forces and skill shortages justify paying a higher salary.
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How To Make An Equal Pay Claim
We know that claiming against your employer can feel stressful. Our lawyers are here to support you every step of the way – from having an informal discussion with your employer, through to taking your claim to the employment tribunal if necessary.
If you think you have an equal pay claim, it’s worth getting legal advice about your options from the start. As a guide, you would normally go through the following steps:
1. Speak to your employer
You're entitled to ask your employer for information about your colleague’s pay and the reason for any differences. By speaking with your employer you may be able to resolve your dispute informally, without needing to make an equal pay claim.
2. Raise a grievance with your employer
If you don’t reach a resolution informally with your employer, you may wish to consider raising a grievance. To do so you’ll need to follow your employer’s grievance process.
Raising a grievance can act as a middle ground between an informal conversation with your employer and making a legal claim. By doing so, it gives you and your employer the opportunity to investigate and potentially resolve your dispute before taking more expensive legal action.
3. Make an equal pay and/or discrimination claim
If you can’t resolve your pay dispute with your employer, then you may be able to make an equal pay claim. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to make a discrimination claim too.
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Equal Pay Claim Time Limits
Before any claim can be made through the employment tribunal, you must engage in a process known as ACAS Early Conciliation. This process aims to resolve your dispute without the need to go to a tribunal at all. If you don’t go through ACAS Early Conciliation, the employment tribunal won’t be able to consider your claim.
The time limits for making a claim at an employment tribunal vary depending on your employment situation and the type of claim you’re making.
For equal pay claims:
- If you’re no longer in employment, you’ll need to make a claim within 6 months of your employment ending
- If you’re still in employment, there’s no time limit (there are some limited exceptions however, including if you’ve changed roles during the period of back pay you’re claiming).
For a discrimination claim:
This should be brought to the employment tribunal within three months of the discrimination taking place, unless there is a continuing act of discrimination.
As this can be a complex area of the law, we recommend speaking with one of our equal pay solicitors as soon as possible. Your lawyer will be able to advise on time limits for claiming (and if any relevant exceptions to the time limits above apply to your case).
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Equal Pay Compensation
If your equal pay claim is successful, then you’re entitled to have your pay increased to an equal level.
Usually, an employment tribunal also awards back pay or compensation, for up to a maximum of six years. This is typically made up of the difference between the equal pay you should have been paid and what you actually received. The employment tribunal can also award interest on any compensation and can order your employer to carry out an equal pay audit.
If you’ve made a discrimination claim alongside your equal pay claim, then there is no limit on the compensation you might receive.
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What Services Do We Offer?
Our employment solicitors will be on hand every step of the way. We can help you with:
- Guidance & support
We can help assess if you have an equal pay claim, how likely it is to succeed and how much it might be worth. Our solicitors can help you to raise the issue with your employer, whether informally or through their grievance procedure. Once you’ve spoken to your employer we can give a view on whether we think any offer they’ve made is reasonable.
- Making an equal pay claim
We can support you in making an equal pay claim. We’ll take you through the ACAS Early Conciliation (and, if necessary, the employment tribunal) process.
- Making a discrimination claim
If it’s applicable to your case, then we can support you in making a discrimination claim.
- Negotiating a settlement agreement
We can also advise you on negotiating a settlement agreement with your employer. A settlement agreement is a legal document that involves you giving up the right to make certain employment claims, in return for compensation.
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Why Choose Us?
We’re specialists in helping senior executives and professionals based in London, and throughout the UK. We can also help if your case has an international element, through our membership of several global legal networks.
Our team is ranked highly by the independent guide, the Legal 500 and is particularly noted for their work helping people who have been discriminated against. Shah Qureshi, who heads the team, is listed as being one of the leading individuals in this area.
Equal pay can be a particularly complex area of the law, but our highly experienced solicitors will provide you with straightforward advice every step of the way. We understand the emotional toll that claiming against your employer can take, but we’re here to make the process as simple as possible and get you the compensation you deserve.
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Call our equal pay solicitors today on 0207 650 3999 or send us a message and we’ll call you back.
Highly rated by the Legal 500
Specialists in helping senior executives and professionals
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Offices in London and around the UK