#EqualPayDay: BBC equal pay row could trigger avalanche of claims

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The row over equal pay for BBC presenters could start avalanche of similar claims, according to ARAG, a leading provider of legal services and advice to businesses.

In July, the Supreme Court ruled that fees for employment tribunals are illegal and that the government had acted unlawfully.

It also ruled that the fees were indirectly discriminatory to women.

The government introduced the fees in 2013 in an attempt to reduce the number of tribunal cases that had malicious intent.

Fees for tribunal cases ranged from £390 to £1,200 to get a case heard at a hearing. At the time, trade unions argued that these fees would mean that workers were prevented from getting the justice they deserved.

ARAG believe that the removal of these tribunal fees, coupled with the potential high profile case against the BBC and others such as those involving major British supermarkets, could create a ‘perfect storm’ for UK employers.

The number of equal pay claims received by the tribunal service dropped by 85 per cent immediately after the introduction of tribunal fees in July 2013 and the annual number of claims is roughly a third of what it was five years ago.

David Haynes, Head of Underwriting & Marketing said, “We’re not expecting all types of employment tribunal claim to shoot back up to pre-2013 levels immediately, following the Supreme Court decision.”

“But the publicity that equal pay claims are getting at the moment is going to make a lot of people ask themselves whether they are paid equally.”

Haynes continued, “The gender pay issue at the BBC appears to be focussed on a relatively small number of staff in particular roles, but these statistics suggest that many other organisations have a much wider pay gap.”

“The media understandably focus on the very large cases involving multiple employees at high profile organisation, but these cases are less likely to have been put off by the tribunal fee regime, because the fee burden could be shared.”

“However, there are always many more smaller or individual claims that employers may now have to face again.”

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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