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Equal Pay: Time Limits and TUPE

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[Thanks to John Bowers QC of Littleton Chambers, Counsel for the employer, for telling me abot this decision, and to Mark Berry of Thompsons, solicitors for the Claimants, for writing the case summary]

The Court of Appeal has today handed down its decision in Gutridge v Sodexo , a case involving equal pay rights in the event of women being subject to a TUPE transfer .

By a majority, the Court of Appeal upholds Elias P.'s decision in the EAT, namely that:-

  • claims for equal pay losses, which have accumulated during employment up to the date of transfer of the undertaking to the transferee, must be brought against the transferee within 6 months of the date of the transfer (and will otherwise be barred by limitation rules); but,
  • claims for losses after the date of the transfer are able to proceed against the new (transferee) employer for up to 6 years' losses from the date of the claim. Claims must be pursued within 6 months of the termination of that employment.

Employers taking over public sector service contracts will therefore continue to be liable for equal pay claims long after the transfer has taken place for so long as those transferred remain employed, based on the earnings of comparators employed by the public authority before the transfer occurred.