A tribunal ruling that a female City analyst was discriminated against because she received a smaller bonus than her male colleagues has intensified pressure on the Government to introduce mandatory equal pay audits.
Julie Bower, a former employee of Schroder Securities, now part of Schroder Salomon Smith Barney, was paid a bonus of £25,000 in 1998, an amount the tribunal called “insultingly low”.
The Equal Opportunities Commission, which backed Bower’s case, claimed it sets a clear example of the need for mandatory pay audits. The Government is advocating a voluntary approach.
Juris Grinbergs, a member of the Equal Pay Task Force and HR director of Littlewoods, said, “It is a deeply embarrassing and sensitive case that will act as a catalyst for organisations to look at their own pay systems.
“This case proves that equal pay reviews are something that employers should be doing.”
Schroder Securities did not monitor its recruitment or pay levels to see whether discrimination occurred.
Last week’s tribunal verdict agreed that Bower’s bonus did not reflect her performance and that it would have been higher if she was a man. Male colleagues received bonuses of £200,000 and over.
Furthermore, she was falsely told that she had the lowest score of any team leader, when she ranked 37th out of 68.
“It was hard to conceive a process more lacking in transparency,” stated the tribunal.
Bower resigned after a deliberate plan by her manager to drive her out, the tribunal claimed.
“The way in which Schroders dealt with my complaints about the way I was being treated was completely unacceptable and I hope no-one else has to go through the same sort of thing again,” said Bower.
A spokesman for Schroder Salomon Smith Barney said the merged company had policies for hiring, promotion and remuneration that fully reflect g