When will a tribunal order an employer to carry out an equal pay audit?

An employment tribunal must order an employer to carry out an equal pay audit if it finds that the employer has committed an equal pay breach, unless one of the exceptions under the Equality Act 2010 (Equal Pay Audits) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2559) applies.

The exceptions, when a tribunal must not order an equal pay audit, are where the tribunal considers that:

  • the employer has completed an audit in the preceding three years that meets the relevant requirements as to the content of the audit set out in the Regulations;
  • it is clear without an audit whether or not any action is required to avoid equal pay breaches occurring or continuing;
  • the breach that the tribunal has found gives no reason to think that there may be other breaches; or
  • the disadvantages of an audit would outweigh its benefits.

Further, a tribunal must not order an equal pay audit if the employer is:

  • a microbusiness, ie one with fewer than 10 employees immediately before the date on which the tribunal gives its judgment; or
  • a new business, ie one that was begun within the 12-month period before the date of the complaint.