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Case Study: £20,000 Equal Pay Claim Recovered Through Judicial Mediation

Summary

From our office in Gatwick & Crawley, Fiona Martin and Matthew Grant recovered £20,000 and a reference through taking part in Judicial Mediation on a complicated sex discrimination and Equal Pay claim.

The situation

Joanna worked as a Field Sales Executive at SLM Plc where her role was to sell telephone and internet solutions to small and medium-sized businesses. Like the other members of her team, Joanna had sales targets to meet and she received commission depending on how many sales she made, over and above her target.

Ian joined SLM, also as a Field Sales Executive. Joanna came to learn that despite his sales results being poor, Ian was earning more than her. This made Joanna suspicious.

Joanna discovered that Ian’s sales targets were lower than hers and also his salary was £7,000 more than hers. Joanna did not believe this was fair as she was more experienced than Ian and had more responsibility.

Joanna raised a number of informal complaints with her manager, Steve, about her pay but he did not take her complaints seriously. Steve eventually offered Joanna a more senior Business Manager with the same basic salary as Ian. No compensation was offered for the differential in pay between her and Ian.

Unfortunately, Joanna’s new role was problematic as the targets provided were unachievable due to insufficient support from the sales team. Joanna realised that she had been “short-changed” and she continued to press her equal pay complaint.

Joanna was called to a meeting where she was told she had no future with SLM and was given a Compromise Agreement (now known as a Settlement Agreement) which only reflected her notice period. Her work pass was taken from her and she was escorted from the building. She approached Fiona Martin for help.

What Martin Searle Solicitors did

Fiona Martin advised Joanna on the different complaints she had including unfair dismissal, victimisation, sex discrimination and Equal Pay.

Fiona, with the assistance of Equal Pay specialist Matthew Grant, helped Joanna raise a grievance and drafted her employment tribunal claim arguing that Joanna and Ian did “like work” as Field Sales Executives. They also argued that moving Joanna to the Business Manager role was an act of victimisation. To encourage a speedy settlement, Fiona put forward sensible figures in without prejudice negotiations to SLM. However, these were not accepted.

Joanna managed to obtain another job at a higher salary within three months of being dismissed which cut off her claim for continuing loss of earnings.

To avoid Joanna having to pay for the cost of a three day hearing, Martin Searle Solicitors suggested to SLM and the Employment Tribunal that Judicial Mediation would be an effective way of achieving a fair settlement.

The result

A one day Judicial Mediation hearing enabled us to agree a settlement sum based on:

  • The difference between Joanna and Ian’s salaries for almost 2 years
  • The commission she lost out on due to having unrealistic targets

With interest and an uplift under the ACAS Code, as the company had not gone through a fair dismissal procedure, Joanna recovered in excess of £20,000 for her Equal Pay claim.

Our expert employment law team can assist both employers and employees in handling equal pay issues. Contact us today on 01273 609911, or email info@ms-solicitors.co.uk to find out more.

Factsheets

  1. Equal Pay

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