NHS Lothian in Scotland faces a multi-million pound payout after hundreds of health service workers lodged equal pay claims.
More than 500 workers at the authority, mainly women working in lower-paid jobs, have lodged claims for back-dated pay.
The women are claiming compensation on the basis that, for several years, they were paid less than men doing work of a similar grade. Union leaders expect at least 1,000 NHS Lothian staff to make claims.
The claims follow a similar situation in England where female workers at an NHS trust in Cumbria received a total of £60m after winning an equal pay battle last year.
NHS Lothian said today it appeared to be facing a “considerable” bill and was in talks with the Scottish Executive and other health boards over how the claims will be met.
A report by James McCaffery, NHS Lothian’s HR director, said the authority’s financial exposure “could be considerable”.
Pay discrimination in the NHS has been addressed by the new Agenda for Change pay structure. But hundreds of workers are now lodging claims for pay dating back five years, the limit set on claims by equal-pay legislation.