This week's case round-up
equal pay claim
Lawrence and Others v Regent Office Care Ltd and Others, 2002, All ER (D) 84, ECJ
This case limits the extent to which an employee can use a comparator from a different employer to establish an equal pay claim.
The employees - female cleaning and catering staff - were originally employed by North Yorkshire County Council. Some had previously established that their work was equal in value to that of men employed by the council in other service areas.
After a compulsory tendering process, the cleaning and catering services were contracted out to private companies, which paid the employees at lower rates than the council.
A number of female employees brought proceedings against their new employers, claiming that Article 141 EC entitled them to claim equal pay with male comparators who remained employed by the council.
The Court of Appeal referred the case to the European Court of Justice, which held that where the differences in pay of workers of different sex, performing equalwork or work of equal value cannot be attributed to a single source, this does not fall within the scope of Article 141, because no singlebody is responsible for theinequality and can restore equal treatment.