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Equal pay: Pay must be set by 'single source' for comparison to be legitimate

This report relates to 1 case(s)

Key points

In Robertson and others v Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Court of Appeal holds:

  • The ECJ case of Lawrence v Regent Office Care [2002] IRLR 822 sets out the correct approach to equal pay cases under art 141 of the EU Treaty. This states that male and female workers must have their pay and conditions set by a "single source" before they can make comparisons for equal pay purposes under art 141.
  • It is for national courts to apply the Lawrence principle to the facts of each particular case. On the facts of this case, Defra was the source responsible for the applicants' pay and conditions but the DETR was the source responsible for the comparators' pay and conditions. There was therefore no single source to which the pay of the applicants and their comparators could be attributed.
  • The simple fact of common employment by the Crown is not sufficient to make the Crown the "single source" responsible for determining levels of pay or remedying inequality in both Defra and the DETR.