What does the Asda Supreme Court ruling mean for staff at other supermarkets?

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Today the Supreme Court ruled that the roles of Asda shop workers could be compared to those of depot workers, but what does this mean for your claim? Here, Emma Satyamurti, joint Head of the Employment Department, explains what the Asda Supreme Court ruling means for staff at other supermarkets.


You’ll have no doubt seen the news today that Asda lost its appeal against the judgment that shop workers could compare their jobs to depot workers.

As the Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, this was Asda’s last chance to argue the roles are not comparable.

This was a huge leap forward for the Equal Pay Now Campaign, but you may be left wondering how the Asda Supreme Court ruling affects your claim if you work for Co op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s or Tesco.

What does this mean for my claim?  

We believe this judgment makes it very difficult for any of the other supermarkets to argue that the roles of store workers and depot workers are not comparable.

Because the same legal issues apply, we’re confident that, should any of the other supermarkets bring similar arguments to those of Asda, we would win again.


Does this mean the Asda claim is over?

In short, no. This judgment relates to the issue of comparability, which is the first of three stages in an equal value claim.

Leigh Day solicitors, on behalf of Asda claimants, will now go on to argue that the roles are of equal value.

In order to decide whether the work done by the store workers is of equal value to the work done by the distribution centre workers, the judge will assess a report provided by independent experts.

The experts draw up factors to compare the two jobs and assess how hard each job is using these factors. The judge will decide if they agree with the findings to determine whether the roles are of equal value. 

If the roles are of equal value, the next stage would be for Asda to show that there is a genuine reason, unrelated to sex, why men and women are paid differently.

Asda would have to demonstrate that factors such as geographical location or length of service, are the reason for the disparity in pay. This is known as ‘material factor defence’.

If the Tribunal decides there is no material factor defence, and the judgment is not appealed, the claims will have been successful, and compensation will be decided.

All of the other supermarket claims will follow the same process.


When will compensation be awarded?

Because there are a number of stages to work through, and decisions can be appealed, it’s difficult to say when compensation will be awarded.

However, if the claim is successful, you are entitled to compensation from up to six years before the date we start you claim until it is resolved, which could be worth thousands.

The Supreme Court’s judgment is reason to celebrate and supports our belief that the claim is a strong and winnable one.

We are currently acting for more than 45,000 supermarket workers and we will continue to do so until shop workers are paid fairly.


If you would like to find out more information about the retail Equal Pay claims and how you can join, please visit our Equal Pay homepage here

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