Employment law update – parental leave, equal pay, workplace privacy

Legal Representation

08 Nov Employment law update – parental leave, equal pay, workplace privacy

Discrimination remedies for enhanced maternity pay

In Snell v Network Rail Infrastructure Limited, the Claimant was only paid statutory pay whilst on shared parental leave, while his wife, also a Network Rail employee, was paid fully. He argued that this was discrimination on grounds of his sex. Network Rail has subsequently reduced women’s maternity pay entitlement to statutory payments only “to ensure fairness”. With the introduction of shared parental leave, this case highlights the potential issue employers may face where they have a policy of paying enhanced maternity leave.

Asda store workers

In Brierley and ors v Asda Stores Ltd, the Manchester Employment Tribunal has ruled, in a preliminary hearing, that women who work in Asda stores can compare themselves to men who work in Asda’s distribution centres. In equal pay claims, Claimants have to compare themselves with a person of the opposite sex who is carrying out like work, work of equal value or work rated as equivalent but is being paid more. The Equality Act 2010 requires the comparator to be ‘in the same employment’ as the Claimant.

This ruling clears the way for over 7,000 claims to proceed. The total value of which has been estimated at over £100m. Where there may seem to be substantial differences between two groups of employees (in this case different locations) there can still be a comparison made for Equal Pay purposes.

Workplace privacy
In the case Brown v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, the County Court has awarded £9,000 to a police officer whose personal information was improperly accessed by police forces for disciplinary purposes.

Accessing the information was an unjustified interference with the claimant’s Article 8 under the Human Rights Act 1998 right to respect for private and family life. MPS and GMP were also guilty of misuse of private information.  This case illustrates the Courts ability to make damages awards in relation to breaches of the Human Rights Act and Data Protection Act and highlights the necessity of staff awareness of data protection rules and the essential need for compliance training.

For further information or to discuss the issues raised by this update, please contact Herrington Carmichael’s Employment Department on 0118 977 4045 or employment@herrington-carmichael.com.

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Contributor: Susie Page

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