Can a man on Shared Parental Leave base a sex discrimination claim on being paid less than a woman on Adoption Leave?
No, held the EAT in Price v Powys County Council; the two aren't comparable.
The Claimant took Shared Parental Leave ('SPL') as soon as his wife's compulsory maternity leave had ended. Under the Council's policy, he only got pay equal to statutory maternity pay, whereas the Council paid full pay to employees on Adoption Leave. Comparing himself to a female colleague on Adoption Leave, the Claimant alleged direct sex discrimination. The tribunal dismissed the claim as the comparator was wrong, listing five differences between employees on SPL and on Adoption Leave, one of which (that there was 'compulsory' adoption leave) was wrong.
The EAT dismissed the appeal, regardless of the tribunal's error, its decision was right, applying the Court of Appeal's decision in Capita Customer Management Ltd v Ali. Adoption Leave is materially different to SPL, its purposes go beyond providing childcare. The requirement in s23 of the Equality Act 2010 that there must be no material difference in circumstances between the Claimant and his comparator was not met, so the claim failed.
Thanks to Ed McFarlane of Law at Work for preparing this case summary.