Fri 18 Aug 2017

Equal Pay: Job Evaluation scheme not valid

The Court of Session has today issued a significant judgment in a mass equal pay case against Glasgow City Council (GCC), which has major implications for employers seeking to use job evaluation schemes as a defence to equal pay claims. 

The case, which has been ongoing for 10 years concerns GCC's implementation of a new job evaluation scheme in 2007.   In summary the Court has found

1. The burden of proof was on GCC to show that their Job Evaluation Scheme (JES) was a valid scheme under the Equal Pay Act 1970  (now subsumed in the Equality Act 2010).  GCC's scheme was 'bespoke, novel and untested' and in those circumstances the burden was on GCC to lead positive evidence to show that the JES met the test of validity under the Equal Pay Act. GCC's scheme had 'unusual features', particularly the fact that it produced two ratings for each job which could not be added together to produce one 'score' for each job. GCC should have led independent expert evidence to show that this was a valid job evaluation methodology.  Evidence from the designer of the scheme was not independent or expert. It was not for the claimants to lead expert evidence that the scheme was invalid.  GCC therefore failed to prove that their scheme was a valid scheme, which prevents GCC using the scheme as a defence to equal pay claims.

2. Even though this was enough to dispose of the appeal, the Court went on to find that there had been enough evidence at the Tribunal to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that the JES was also 'unsuitable to be relied upon' under the Equal Pay Act given that there was no mechanism to aggregate the 2 ratings for each job. This suggests that the entire scheme is flawed.

3. The Court has now sent the case back to the Tribunal to address the question of whether the jobs in question are of equal value to their chosen comparators.  GCC meanwhile will need to consider implementing a new JES across the council.

Link to decision:


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