Husband earned ‘more than enough’!

A tribunal has heard how a female manager was told that her husband’s high earnings were enough to offset her own salary. The claimant had approached her Managing Director as she felt that her reduced hours of work were not fully aligned with a lighter workload. She therefore felt she should be earning more than she was receiving at the time of her complaint.

After raising a formal grievance which was rejected by another director, the claimant submitted a claim for sex discrimination. The tribunal found that when the claimant emailed the Managing Director to express that her salary “should reflect her value and significant contribution” to the company the response was that she was ‘’comfortable with the level of their combined household income”.

An Employment Tribunal judge said the firm’s Managing Director had been “inherently discriminatory” when making the comments about the couple’s income, stating that the claimant was subjected to a detriment because her complaint about her level of pay was not considered on its merits.

Th Judge reported that, “It is clear from the reason given for not dealing with it that the view was that a married woman cannot challenge her level of earnings if her husband is a high earner. That is a view that is inherently discriminatory against women. In the absence of any explanation for not considering the claimant’s complaint about her level of pay and the inherently discriminatory nature of the comment that he made, we concluded that in not considering the claimant’s complaint he treated her less favourably on the grounds of sex”.

The claimant was awarded £4,000 in compensation.

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