Significant payout demonstrates gender inequality concerns

A lawyer who was sacked after complaining that she was paid less than her male colleagues has won more than £150,000 at an employment tribunal.


The large payout which originally came to the employment tribunal in 2020, has resulted in the core issue, equal pay, back in the spotlight. The tribunal found that the employee had worked at a law firm since 2003. In 2010 she was to Associate Director.Three years into the role, she discovered that a male co-worker in a similar role to her was being paid £2,000 a year more than she was. However she did not raise the issue until 2015, at which point she was advised to “be careful and that the issue could be ‘dangerous’”.


The employee’s line manager reportedly said that pursuing this issue could be an “own goal” and she would be better dropping it. She refused to let it go, and the firm agreed to give her a pay rise, but this was not backdated to 2010. Following this, the employee claimed that she was “victimised and targeted”  which ended in her dismissal.


The firm claimed that the dismissal was because her relationship with the directors and other staff had broken down. However, the tribunal concluded that she was the victim of sexual discrimination, victimisation and harassment, the tribunal awarded £151,811 in compensation.


It is very clear that, despite the law being clear about equal pay for equal work, the reality is far more complex. Gender inequality is prevalent, as this tribunal outcome shows.

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