Equal pay claim nets HR manager £19,000

A female HR manager has received £19,000 in compensation in an out-of-court
settlement, after claiming her role should be worth the same as her firm’s male
financial controller.

Avril Johnson, who worked for manufacturer Barco for nine years, received
the settlement after she claimed she was unfairly dismissed when the company
tried to demote her role to HR administrator in 2002.

Johnson claimed she earned £8,000 less than the financial controller,
received fewer share options and missed out on the annual bonus he received.
She also claimed to be the only member of the management team not to get a
company mobile phone.

Julie Mellor, chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, which supported
Johnson’s case, said the situation would have been avoidable if the employer
had carried out equal pay reviews to ensure fairness.

"The best way to make sure that a pay system is fair is to carry out an
equal pay review. In some cases a review might uncover the fact that jobs
usually done by women have historically been under-valued, leading to lower
rates of pay than for jobs usually done by men," she added.

Johnson said: "I believed my professional responsibilities were very
similar to those of the financial controller. I was not happy to find I was
paid so much less. I didn’t want to leave after nine years service, but felt I
had no choice."

By Ross Wigham


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