In our stop press issue, earlier this month, we covered the recent ruling of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Highland Council v TGWU on the crucial issue of what the step 1 grievance has to cover in equal pay cases. Another EAT decision north of the border, in a pair of appeals involving Arney Services Ltd and the City of Edinburgh Council, looked at the standard directions order issued in Scottish equal pay claims. The upshot is that a respondent should not be required to answer questions on any genuine material factor (GMF) defence until the claimant has established a prima facie case by naming appropriate comparators. Although no equivalent directions have been issued at a national level in England and Wales, this case will remind tribunals both sides of the border to bear in mind the basic principles of equal pay claims when issuing orders for directions.
Baines v Blackpool Borough Council, like the Scottish appeals referred to above, was decided at the end of last year. The issue in this English appeal was whether the claimant could call expert evidence to challenge the council's GMF defence. The EAT upheld the employment tribunal's (ET) decision that she could not call such evidence, as the issues arising were ones which were well within the competence of the ET to determine. However there was nothing to prevent her engaging an expert to help her analyse documents or prepare cross-examination. This case is a reminder that tribunals remain firmly in control of expert evidence and will not allow such evidence to be called if they regard it as unnecessary.
For the stop press issue of e-qual PayPost click here.