Sainsbury’s loses Employment Tribunal case linked to equal pay claim

Sainsbury’s has been ordered to pay costs in an equal pay-related claim.

Supermarket retail

 

Sainsbury’s could be ordered to pay almost half a million pounds in costs after it accused store staff of providing incorrect job titles to an employment tribunal when they brought an equal pay claim.

In March 2020, Sainsbury’s claimed store staff had provided incorrect job titles when submitting equal pay claims to the Employment Tribunal, making their claims invalid. Law firm Leigh Day which has lodged several equal pay cases against major supermarkets, challenged the allegation and the Employment Tribunal today ruled in their favour.

The matter will now be referred to the county court for detailed assessment by a costs judge who will decide how much Sainsbury’s needs to pay in legal costs.

The ruling comes in advance of Friday’s decision by the Supreme Court about whether warehouse staff at Asda can be compared to people working on the shop floor when it comes to equal pay cases. A number of supermarkets are facing legal action on the grounds that their mostly female shop workers are paid less than their mostly male warehouse staff.

Sainsbury’s is just one of the supermarkets involved. More than 3,000 Sainsbury’s staff are involved in the Equal Pay Now Campaign, claiming that the value of their work in terms of difficulty, skill and demand is equal to that of their colleagues in distribution and so they should be paid the same.

Leigh Day says the difference in hourly pay for a Sainsbury’s shop worker and those in a distribution centre can range between £1.50 to £4 an hour. It believes the average worker could be entitled to in excess of £10,000 for up to six years back pay.



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