News and Events

Equal Pay: Comparators in Equal Value claims

  • Posted

[Thanks to Ed McFarlane of EEF for providing this case summary] 

The Court of Appeal has handed down its decision in Hovell v St Peters NHS Trust , which is authority for the proposition that where a Job Evaluation Scheme has been implemented and jobs are rated equal or very similar, a claim for equal value during the pre-JES period under section 1(2)(c) of the Equal Pay Act 1970 will not automatically succeed.

Elias LJ, giving the only reasoned judgment, rejected a 'substantial equivalence' argument, to the effect that similar ratings under a JES, without more, can demonstrate equal value, an approach which could lead to Claimants salami-slicing their way along a pay scale by successive comparisons (paras. 32- 41).

He emphasised that the Tribunal should focus on a 'one-on-one comparison' for equal value claims, and this may involve more detailed comparison of the respective jobs under consideration that is involved section 1(2)(b) (work rated as equivalent under a JES).

The Court also made observations on the discretion to use an Independent Expert in equal value claims (para. 46).