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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I would like to know if my company has breached any employment

Resolved Question:

I would like to know if my company has breached any employment act that I can quote when raising a grievance?
There are 2 separate areas in my company, East & Central & each area was effectively run as 2 separate businesses with 2 separate wage structures. There are 2 separate departments in both East & Central, Production & Operational. Centrals wages were higher than East's.
3 years ago the business unified the 2 companies and we are now run as 1.
Production in East challenged the business with regard to the wages because they did exactly the same job as Production in Central but were paid less and wanted to be paid the same.
The business agreed and paid East Production the same as central Production.
Operational in East also challenged the business with regard to the wages because they did exactly the same job as Operational in central but were paid less and wanted to be paid the same.
The business refused.
Is there anything that I can do as an employee to challenge that response?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
36 years
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry Ben I should have said hello, I have worked for the company for 36 years
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks for your patience whilst I looked into your query. The law on equal pay is frequently misunderstood. Many workers believe that there is a right to equal pay across the workforce, especially for workers that perform the same or similar jobs.
However, the reality is that employers are free to pay their employees whatever they want, as long as it is above the current National Minimum Wage and in accordance with the employee's contract of employment. It is not generally unlawful to pay employees doing the same or similar jobs different rates. The only time this would be an issue is if the reasons for the difference in pay is discriminatory, due to a difference in gender. The relevant law was originally brought in to deal with the fact that many women were being paid less than their male colleagues for doing the same job.
Whilst this protection still applies, to be successful in a claim you must show that the reason for being paid less is actually gender-related. It is no good claiming that you are being paid less than someone else, unless it can be shown that the reasons for this difference in pay is due to gender.
Even if there was evidence that the reasons for the difference in pay may be gender-related, the employer could still try and rely on the 'genuine material factor' defence to defend any equal pay claim. This would occur where the employer can show that the difference in pay is due to:
• Past performance
• Seniority or length of service
• Different hours of work
• Geographical differences
• Different skills, qualifications and experience
• Pay protection following job re-grading
So unless there were discriminatory reasons for the difference in pay, there is nothing illegal in paying different rates even if the workers are performing the same job. I agree that is appears unfair and morally wrong, but unfortunately it is not illegal.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Ben, thank you for your reply and to be honest after trawling through endless web sites I anticipated the answer which is disappointing because Mr Average (which is me) who is a hard working, conscientious person who has given loyal service to a business for a number of years doesn't appear to have a leg to stand on regarding an issue that is basically about equality unless I have a sex change, which was not my first option (only joking on that). My intention was to raise the issue as a formal grievance. If possible I would appreciate some pointers in compiling a suitable letter that I can use to do that?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hi I understand you want to raise a grievance, which is your legal right if you wanted to, however it will just be a basic complaint about apparent unfairness when legally the employer has not actually done anything wrong. I can of course help with this but it would not be a strong argument due to the issues I explained earlier
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? If your query has been dealt with please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. If you need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you.
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello Ben, this situation does not just pertain to me but to teams of people where one group have been treated favourably and the other group which I work in have not.
Had the business been consistent in their management and aligned both or did not align either then this would have not been an issue! In my opinion it's very poor management and very poor judgement that does not create a healthy working environment.
It seems unjust that this type of situation is legal and allowed to go unchalleged and does not breach the equality act which was obviously revised in 2010 especially under these circumstances. Everyone should have the right to be treated fairly especially in 2015.
I work for a water utility and we are a members of a union but as per the law there is very little they or we can do other than question the morality of the companies actions.
The reason I asked for some advice in the first place was because the full time union official appeared to be quite elusive and did not give me a definitive answer to this question.
You have been a great help in clarifying our position and I guess we will have to hope that the business develops some kind of conscience?
Thanks again.
Paul