Huge pay-out in recent equal pay / sex discrimination trial

Huge pay-out in recent equal pay / sex discrimination trial

  • Date: Wednesday 22nd June 2022
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Stacey Macken, a female employee of BNP Paribas, recently won a claim for equal pay and sex discrimination, receiving over £2 million in compensation. The bank was also ordered to carry out an equal pay audit and submit a detailed gender pay report by June 2022.

The award included a payment of £123,000 in additional compensation due to BNP Pariba’s apology falling short of being ‘genuine and heartfelt’. A further £317,000 was added due to the bank not taking reasonable steps to follow the ACAS code of practice on disciplinary and grievance.

Some of the facts presented at the tribunal included evidence of Ms Macken receiving £40,000 less than male employees doing the same role. She was also subjected to sexist behaviour, including her seniors repeatedly responding to her in a demeaning way with comments such as “not now Stacey”. On one occasion, drunk male colleagues left a witch’s hat on her desk. Her complaints of pay difference were left unaddressed and resulted in her being downgraded in performance appraisals which negatively impacted her bonus awards.

This is the first case where a tribunal has ordered an employer to comply with equal pay obligations. Whilst this level of pay-out is unusual, it should serve as a reminder to employers that they must take equal pay responsibilities seriously and ensure transparency and equality in their practices to avoid complaints.

Learning for employers

Being clear and open about pay and contractual terms and conditions will help prevent equal pay issues. You should:

  • Ensure you have an equal pay policy
  • Create an open culture where employees feel comfortable to ‘speak up
  • Ensure job descriptions are in place that describe employees’ roles
  • Put in place equality and diversity training and ensure this is updated and rolled out consistently across the organisation
  • Ensure that male / female employees carrying out the same role have the same job title
  • Consistently decide employee’s pay and terms of employment by having one pay structure and limit who can make decisions on salaries
  • Investigate and address pay grievances by following either your company policy or ACAS guidelines

Please contact our team at SSG for further advice on how to carry out a pay audit or review, need help updating or drafting a new policy or if you require equality and diversity training.

Source: Nicola Harding

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