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Can Clerical Employees use Manual Workers as Comparators in Equal Pay Claims


Lawson-West Solicitors - Expert Author

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If an employee wishes to make an Equal Pay Claim, the employee has to find a comparator doing work of equal value who is being paid more or is entitled to better terms and conditions.  Employers can still pay employees doing work of equal value differently, providing the justification for doing so is not discriminatory.  Usually comparators for clerical workers are other clerical workers and comparators for manual workers, such as caterers or domestic staff, are other manual workers such as refuse collectors or gardeners.

A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal confirmed that administrative, technical, professional and clerical employees can use manual workers as comparators.  In City of Edinburgh v Wilkinson & others, a group of female employees employed in schools, hostels, libraries and social work brought an Equal Pay Claim using mostly male manual workers in jobs such as refuse collectors, gardeners, gravediggers and roadworkers, who could earn bonuses not available to the clerical employees.

The employer argued the mostly male manual workers were not valid comparators because they were not employed at the same place or under common terms and conditions.  The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that:-

  • The employer was a single establishment for pay purposes;
  • There were common terms and conditions between the clerical and manual workers, even if they were not employed at the same establishment;
  • Establishment need not be the same geographical location and a broad approach is required when determining the issue of same employment.

Therefore the clerical employers were allowed to use manual workers as comparators.

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Lawson-West specialise in commercial, business and employment law. Our team of dedicated commercial solicitors can help with buying or selling a business, business law and disputes, landlord and tenant issues and commercial property. Our expert employment team can offer practical advice and guidance on all aspects of employment law including redundancy, compromise agreements and dismissal procedures. Visit for more information.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-08-18 14:06:12 in Legal Articles

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