Employment Law: Equal Pay for women in the workplace

Research Question

Has the Equality Act 2010 improved the way women are treated within the workplace with respect to equal pay?

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Hypothesis Statement

The pre-existing struggles that women have been faced with in regards to equal pay have not been addressed by the recent reforms within this area.This is because, although the Equality Act 2010 was welcomed as a vehicle for the radical reform of equal pay, women are still treated less favourable than men.Accordingly, the problems that arose from the Equal Pay Act 1970 are still in existence and so further reform is needed if inequality is to be eradicated.

Case Law

Abdulla and others v Birmingham City Council [2013] 1 All ER 649

Allen v GMB [2008] EWCA Civ 810

Bates van Winkelhof v Clyde & Co LLP and another [2013] 1 All ER 844

Blackburn v West Midlands Police [2008] All ER (D) 50 (Nov)

Defrenne v Sabena (No 2) Case C-t3/75 [1976] ECR 455

Eaton Ltd v Nuttall [1977] ICR 272

Enderby v Frenchay Health Authority Case Case C-127/92 [1993] ECR I – 5535

Redcar & Cleveland BC v Bainbridge; Surtees v Middlesbrough BC [2008] All ER (D) 386 (Jul)

Ideas for Methodology Approach

In undertaking the research for this study, both a quantitative and qualitative approach will be undertaken so that a comprehensive analysis can be made.

Both primary and secondary research will therefore be adopted by looking at various academic opinions, relevant legal rules, theories and principles. This will be done by accessing text books, journal articles, online legal databases and governmental reports. These can be accessed by undertaking a library search as well online databases such as Lexis Nexis and Westlaw.

Reference to Relevant Legal Theory and Social Policy Implications

The rights of women and men to receive equal pay has been subject to continuous debate for some time and the fact that women are still being discriminated against in the workplace suggests that the law cannot “effect genuine equality” (Smart, 1989, p. 3). This has serious social policy implications since it is made clear under s. 11 of the 2010 Act that discrimination on the grounds of a person’s sex is a protected characteristic and is therefore prohibited. Article 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights 1951, as incorporated by the Human Rights Act 1998, also protects women from being discriminated against within the workplace. Nevertheless, the fact that many organisations fail to treat men and women the same when it comes to equal pay suggests that the law is unable to protect women from discriminatory treatment within the workplace. As put by Rhode (1990, p. 617); “gender equality cannot be obtained under existing ideological institutional structures.” This causes legal implications in respect of equal pay and fails to allow equality for all to be attained (Wacks, 2012, p. 305).

Relevant Books, Journals and Reports

Baker, N. The Equality Act 2010. Company Secretary’s Review, Tolley’s Practical Business Fortnightly for Companies. 34 CSR 13, 102, Issue 13, (2010).

Bamforth, N. Malik, M. and Cinneide, O. Discrimination Law: Theory and Context, Text and Materials, Sweet & Maxwell Ltd, 1st Edition, (2008).

Connolly, M. Discrimination Law: Victimisation, Industrial Law Journal, ILJ 2002 31 (156) (2), Issue 2, (01 June, 2002).

European Industrial Relations Review. Report on Gender Pay Gap, 388 European Industrial Relations Review 28, (2006).

Equality and Human Rights Commission,.Equal Pay’ Creating a Fairer Britain, (2010), [available] from accessed 06 May, 2013.

Pigott, C. Employment: A Step Change for Equality, New Law Journal, 160 NLJ 749, Issue 7419, (28 May, 2010).

Pigott, C. Employment: Justifying Unequal Pay, New Law Journal, 159 NLJ 55, Issue 7352, (16 January, 2009).

Wilson, D. Playing Fair, Pay & Benefits, 38. Issue 7, (2010). Rowbottom, D. Re-Inventing the Collective Approach to Equal Pay, 155 New Law Journal 1701. Issue 7200, (2005).

Smart, C. (1989) Feminism and the Power of the Law, London, Routledge.

Smith, I. and Baker, A. Smith & Wood’s Employment Law. OUP Oxford. 10th Edition, (2010).

TUC. ‘The Union Makes Us Strong: TUC History Online’ [available] from < http://www.unionhistory.info/> accessed 05 May, 2013.

Wacks, R., (2012) Understanding Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Legal Theory, OUP Oxford, 3rd Edition.

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