Asda loses at Court of Appeal over Equal Pay Claims

Asda store workers have been in a long-running equal pay dispute with their employer.  Tens of thousands of mostly female Asda store workers have already won two rulings in the employment tribunal and the employment appeal tribunal on their equal pay claims.

This case is about whether workers in Asda stores (who are mostly female) do work of “equal value” with Asda workers in distribution centres (who are mostly male).  The women argued that as shop floor workers they should be paid equally to employees in the distribution centres because this work is of equal value.  Distribution centre workers were being paid anything from £1 to £4 an hour more than store workers.

In January 2019 the Court of Appeal ruled that Asda store workers can compare themselves to warehouse workers.  The judgment ruled that for both retail workers and distribution workers “Asda applied common terms and conditions wherever they work.”  This is the first stage of the process and means that the legal claims against Asda will now be assessed through a number of objective criteria to see whether the roles are of equal value and then whether there is any reason beyond sexual discrimination for not paying these two roles equally.

The workers who have filed claims against Asda will now proceed to the next stage of their claims.  This ruling could pave the way for thousands of other equal pay claims from other supermarket workers.  Asda has also been refused application to appeal to the Supreme Court.