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Statutory Grievances and Equal Pay Claims

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[Thanks to Bronwyn McKenna of Unison for providing this case summary]

The Court of Appeal has, this morning, resolved the vexed question on whether a grievance for an equal pay claim (under the statutory grievance procedures) needs to actually identify the comparator, or whether it is sufficient to simply claim 'equal pay' (see the history of the conflicting cases through the courts so far).

In Mid Suffolk Mental Health Partnership and NHS Trust v Hurst and Arnold v Sandwell MBC, the Court of Appeal held that it is sufficient for purposes of s.32 of the Employment Act 2002 ,for a grievance to state that claim was brought under the 1970 Equal Pay Act. There is no requirement to identify comparators or to specify the limb of the Equal Pay Act on which the Claimants seek to rely.

The reasoning of Elias J (as he was) at the EAT sitting in London on these cases was to preferred to that of Lady Smith sitting in the EAT in Scotland in the Highland Council case.

It is estimated that there around 7,000 equal pay cases awaiting this judgment.