An Employment Judge in Manchester ruled that over 7,000 current and former ASDA store workers can proceed to being their claims against the superstore.
Most of the 7,000 claimants are female, and they are arguing that they are (or were) paid less than others within the organisation despite carrying out roles of equal value.
ASDA, who are defending the claim state that men and women doing the same job in their retail stores as well as their distribution centres are paid the same wage. ASDA also argue that the difference in pay rates in stores can be justified for legitimate reasons (e.g. different market rates for different jobs in different sectors) and they deny directly or indirectly discriminating against the claimants or falling foul of any equal pay regulations.
If the claimants are successful, they could recover more than £100M dating back to 2002.
It is therefore wise for retailers who have occupational groups with distinct gender profiles to ensure that they do not leave themselves open to such claims.
An employment tribunal has ruled that lower-paid women who work in Asda stores can compare themselves with higher-paid men who work in Asda’s distribution centres.