The Court of Appeal has given the green light to a private sector equal pay claim against the supermarket giant Asda.
Asda had attempted to halt the claim, which is being brought by 7,000 current and former workers, most of whom are female and worked as checkout staff and shelf stackers. They argue that their roles are comparable to the supermarket’s better-paid and male-dominated warehouse positions. The group claims the warehouse workers earn up to £4 an hour more than the shop workers because of a gender bias.
Asda insists that no discrimination has taken place, but the Court of Appeal rejected its bid to have the employment tribunal proceedings stayed indefinitely, ruling that this ‘highly exceptional’ case should be heard by an employment tribunal.
Lord Justice Elias of the Court of Appeal described it as the most complex and significant equal pay claim seen in the private sector. Its outcome could have major implications for the entire retail sector.
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