David J P Hay

A Piggyback Question


The Employment Tribunal in Glasgow has decided an interesting point in relation to ‘piggyback’ Equal Pay claims in Kelly & oths v North Lanarkshire Council.

Piggyback claims are where men rely on female colleagues who themselves had raised equal pay claims. The question for the tribunal was whether piggyback claims raised by men targeting sums paid in settlement of females’ equal pay claims were properly to be raised as equal pay claims under the Equal Pay Act 1970 or as sex discrimination claims under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (both now replaced by the Equality Act 2010, but with a similar distinction between the two types of claim still recognised).

Westwater’s David Hay, for the Council, argued that the claims were properly pursued under the Sex Discrimination Act. Sarah Bourke, English counsel acting for the claimants, contended the claims were for equal pay.

The Employment Tribunal has decided that the claims are properly to be pursued as claims for sex discrimination and not equal pay. This is a relatively novel area of law still being considered by the courts. It remains to be seen whether the claimants will appeal this decision.