Supermarket giant, Asda could face a £100 million pay out to thousands of female workers, employment solicitor Leigh Day has revealed.
On Friday, a judge ruled that thousands of workers could proceed down legal channels with their equal pay claim against the supermarket.
At the hearing, the judge said that the work conducted by female workers could be compared to that of higher paid men in Asda’s distribution centres.
Leigh Day, the law firm representing the workers, has claimed that Asda could owe over £100 million in back pay if the claimants win their case, with some cases going back to 2002.
Lauren Lougheed, a lawyer at Leigh Day said, “Asda tried to argue that because the shops and distributions centres were in different locations, with different pay arrangements, that Asda could pay the men what they like.”
“This judgement will have far reaching implications on other supermarket equal pay claims, including those we are bringing on behalf of around 400 Sainsbury’s workers who are in a similar situation.”
However, in a statement, ASDA argued, “We continue to strongly dispute the claims being made against us.”
“We believe that the demands of the jobs are very different and are considering our options for appeal.”
In June, it was reported that Asda had failed to block the tribunal into equal pay. The Court of Appeal ruled that the tribunal would go ahead, after it ruled that although the case was complex, it did not pose any vastly different issues to other equal pay court cases.
Employees are taking the supermarket to court over claims that workers in the distribution depots earn substantially more than those working in the retail stores.
The action group, comprising of mainly women working hourly-paid roles in the company’s stores, began their legal campaign back in October 2014.