In The News: Discrimination and Equal Pay

Discrimination, For Employers


On Friday, there were two employment Tribunal cases published, both of which were of great interest to us here at Thrive Law.

  • In a maternity discrimination case, Liz Earle was ordered to pay an employee £17,303 in damages. The employee was given two weeks’ notice of redundancy, and then tried to apply for two more roles and was not even interviewed, despite them being the same as her previous role.


It was found that her redundancy was “rushed through” before she fell into a protected period due to her maternity. The government plans to extend the period where a new mother is protected from redundancy to six months after she returns to work and offer the same period of protection to those taking adoption leave and shared parental leave.


  • Samira Ahmed won a case for equal pay at the BBC, where it was proven that she was underpaid by £700,000 (more than six times less) when compared with Jeremy Vine’s pay for a similar show.

In equal pay cases, the burden of proof is different, and the BBC had failed to prove that the pay gap wasn’t because of sex discrimination. One of the BBC’s attempts to demonstrate different skills was that Mr Vine had a “glint in his eye”. The Tribunal found that they “had difficulty in understanding what the respondent meant and how that translated into a ‘skill’ or ‘experience’ to do a job”.

As a result of this case, it was reported that the BBC now faces numerous similar claims which they are looking to settle.

So what can we learn from both the cases? The criticism of settlement agreements is that they “silence” the claimants, but they also avoid issues like this becoming public and damaging a company’s credibility. Whilst some individuals may (perhaps rightly) wish to pursue a matter to Tribunal to set an example or hold an employer accountable, this can cause reputational damage.

The cases also demonstrate that equality is very much on the agenda at the Tribunal. Here at Thrive Law, we truly believe that all workplaces should be as diverse as the country is, and are thankful that more and more tribunal outcomes demonstrate that discrimination in all forms is unacceptable.

If you would like to speak to a member of our team about any of our services or if you have any concerns about discrimination in your workplace, please get in touch!

Written by Alicia Collinson.

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