LayerSlider – Conveyancing 26Jan18 – Base

NI Solicitor Wins Equal Pay Case

Published 27 June 2019. By Billy Muir, Trainee Solicitor.

Northern Irish law ensures men and women should receive equal pay for equal work.

In this case Mrs Mercer, a solicitor, applied for a promotion in 2009. Subsequently her employer responded that she did not meet the criteria for the promotion. However, two male colleagues with similar criteria were allowed to apply and subsequently awarded these promotions. Mrs Mercer was not aware of the promotions of her male counterparts until 2010 and when she enquired about making an application at the next stage she was told there would be no more advancements in the firm for the foreseeable future.

In the following years Mrs Mercer raised the issue of her salary multiple times but her employer declined to review it or would delay the issue to be dealt with at a later date. Mrs Mercer lodged a grievance with her employer but at the internal grievance meeting her employer determined that her work was not as demanding as her male counterparts. Her employer claimed that whilst she was getting paid less than her colleagues, she was not doing ‘like work’.

Mrs Mercer brought the matter to the Tribunal where they upheld her claim. The Tribunal found that she was in fact performing like work and should have been receiving equal pay to her male colleagues since June 2009.

The employer was ordered to pay Mrs Mercer £116,542 in respect of the difference between her gross annual salary of £70,000 and the modified amount of £99,500 from the date of the claim to the decision. Mrs Mercer will also receive £137,000 arrears of annual salary for six years up to the date of her claim in June 2015 along with interest of £19,711 on arrears. Her total award will therefore be over £250,000 and her salary is increased to £99,500 going forward.

This type of case is on the rise and it is important employers ensure that they are compliant with the law in this area to avoid the negative publicity and costs associated with this type of claim.

If you need any employment advice on this or any other issue please do not hesitate to contact myself or my colleagues in the Employment department at MKB Law.

To discuss any of the points mentioned in this article please contact me on 028 9024 2450 or email

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