The first equal pay claims by female employees against Stafford Borough Council have been given a June Employment Tribunal Hearing date it was revealed today.
The hearings, which will take place in Shrewsbury, have been given a 25th June start date and are likely to last 4-5 days. Andrew Vernon, a solicitor at Carvers says that claims being handled by his own firm could total more than £2 million.
"Stafford has been running a classic discriminatory bonus scheme. We estimate that the 145 claimants we are currently acting for could be in line for payouts of approximately £15,000 each."
He continued: "Stafford Council was successfully sued six years ago for equal pay discrimination, but instead of abandoning its discriminatory practises merely replaced the old scheme with a new one, equally as biased against female employees."
The women, many of whom are working in essential but low paid jobs, such as care workers, cooks and supervisory assistants, will claim to have been unfairly discriminated against by the use of a bonus scheme, only open to male employees of the County Grounds Service, which guaranteed 220 hours of overtime per year at more than 1.5 times pay rates.
At the same time, women employees, on the same grade as the men, had their rotas carefully managed to ensure that no individual ever worked more than 37 hours per week and were therefore never entitled to overtime payments. Male workers, via the use of the bonus scheme made between £2000 and £2500 per year extra guaranteed.
Individuals who have been subjected to equal pay discrimination must complain within six months of being made redundant and claims can only go back six years.
"Many of the cases we are currently working on involve care home assistants who have been made redundant. It is likely that there are many more potential claimants out there, but it is essential that individuals make their claim now" says Vernon.