Morgan v Middlesbrough Borough Council, EAT, 22 November 2004

Comparators and claims for equal pay

The council employed Mrs Morgan as a primary school clerk and administrator on a term-time basis only. She brought an unsuccessful claim for equal pay, alleging she was employed in like work with Mr Mell, a secondary school administrator employed on a full-year contract.

In deciding that Morgan’s work did not match her chosen comparator, the tribunal took account of differences between the hours they each worked, as well as Mell’s special skills and previous experience as a former deputy head teacher.

Morgan successfully appealed. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that an individual’s personal qualities and previous experience do not demonstrate that the actual job that person is required to do is different from that of anyone else. Although these factors may be relevant to a claim by an employer that a difference in pay or conditions is due to something that has nothing to do with sex, the question of whether the claimant and her chosen comparator were employed in like work is a separate matter. This issue involves a simple factual comparison of work done to determine whether the work itself is similar or different.

For more on equal rights, click here

Comments are closed.