Samira Ahmed, the BBC presenter, has succeeded in an equal pay claim against the BBC.
The employment tribunal is pretty scathing of the BBC in the judgement, in which it found that Jeremy Vine's work on "Points of View" (for which he was paid £3,000 per episode) was "the same or, if not the same, very similar" as Ahmed's work on "Newswatch" (for which she was paid £440 per episode).
The judgment should be something of a wake up call for many employers. Whilst the BBC pointed to a number of factors which, under different circumstances, may have justified the pay differential (such as name recognition of Vine and Ahmed), the fundamental difficulty for the BBC appears to have been that there was no evidence that such factors actually resulted in the pay differential.
Rather the BBC appears to have determined pay on a case by case basis, without recourse to any transparent pay structure.
Once Ahmed had shown that the work she did was the same or essentially the same as that done by Vine, it fell on the BBC to prove that the pay differential was not because of gender related reasons. As the tribunal found, "the BBC found itself in difficulties in this case because it did not ... have a transparent and consistent process for evaluating and determining pay..." It was therefore of little surprise that it failed to prove a negative - that the differential in pay between Vine and Ahmed was due to factors other than gender.
The question is — how many employers, in particular in the SME sector, have such transparent and consistent pay structures and how many seek to simply negotiate the best deal possible at the time of hire?
"the BBC found itself in difficulties in this case because it did not ... have a transparent and consistent process for evaluating and determining pay..."