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Equal Pay claims – ruling from the Supreme Court

For individuals making an equal pay claim, the time limit for making a claim in an Employment Tribunal is six months from the end of their employment.

However the Supreme Court has ruled that equal pay claims brought in the High Court more than six months after the end of the claimants’ employment (which would have been out of time in an employment tribunal) should not be struck out.

The rationale behind this is that it is not unusual for individuals to find out, well after their employment ceases, that former colleagues in similar roles to the ones they held, have been successful with equal pay claims or have received equal pay settlements. Only then might those individuals realise that they too could have valid equal pay complaints against their former employer; too late to issue tribunal proceedings. The Supreme Court’s decision, confirming that such individuals will be able to pursue their former employers in the civil courts, could lead to a large number of claims.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have a Statutory Code of Conduct on Equal Pay. The code is available from the EHRC website and gives guidance on the law and good practice for both small and large employers.

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