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court extends time limit for equal pay claims

25 October 2012

More bad news for local authorities on equal pay as judgment is given in the Abdulla v Birmingham City Council case.

In this case 174 claimants who were late in bringing equal pay claims in the employment tribunal brought them in the High Court as breach of contract claims. The council applied to have the claims struck out. It accepted the claims were in time in the High Court but relied on the Equal Pay Act which gave the court discretion to strike out the claims and refer them to the employment tribunal – if they could be more conveniently decided there.

The Supreme Court said it could not be more convenient to dispose of the claims in the tribunal, where they would be time barred.

Under the Equal Pay Act the 6 month employment tribunal time limit has until now been applied; the implications of this ‘extended’ limitation period for employers will add significantly to the financial burden of dealing with historic equal pay liabilities.

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