Asda lose latest battle in equal pay claim dispute with supermarket employees

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Over 7000, mainly female, supermarket employees brought equal pay claims in the ET, seeking to compare themselves with higher paid, and mainly male distribution employees. Asda were appealing the decision of both the ET and the EAT that supermarket employees, (many of whom are women) can compare themselves with distribution depot employees (many of which are men) for the purposes of equal pay claims.

The Court of Appeal made it clear that Asda applied common terms and conditions to employees, whether they worked in their supermarkets or at their distribution depots and therefore the test of whether there was a single source for the terms and conditions of both supermarket employees and their comparators at the distribution depots was satisfied.

In order to bring successful equal pay claims, the supermarket employees must still prove that their roles are of equal value to the roles within the distribution depots and that there is no other reason aside from sex discrimination that they should be paid equally.

The case has potentially highlighted the supermarkets stereotypical assumptions about the nature of ‘women’s work’ and the role of men (and not women) as breadwinners. Similar claims have been brought against Tesco, Sainsburys and Morrisons in addition to Asda. If successful, the claims could cost the big 4 supermarkets more than £8 billion in back payments in respect of unequal pay.’