Thousands of workers at Leeds-based supermarket giant Asda can proceed with claims for equal pay after a “dramatic” employment tribunal victory for a group of women.
Law firm Leigh Day said the case is the UK’s largest ever private sector equal pay claim, involving women who felt they were paid less than others in the company despite doing work of equal value.
A judgment by the Manchester employment tribunal following a hearing in June will allow more than 7,000 store workers to press ahead with claims for equal pay against Asda, said Leigh Day.
The case was brought on behalf of a group of women, mainly in hourly paid jobs in stores, comparing their pay to mainly male staff in distribution depots.
Lauren Lougheed, a lawyer in the employment team who is representing the claimants, said: “This is a dramatic victory for the workers we represent. Asda tried to argue that because the shops and distribution centres were in different locations, with different pay arrangements, that Asda could pay the men what they like.
“However, the employment tribunal found that Asda, the employer of both men and women, could have made sure that there was equal pay between men and women if they wanted to, but chose not to.
“This judgment 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.”