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Gender pay – is BBC at risk of litigation?

Suzanne Horne
pay gap

Suzanne Horne, head of the international employment practice – Paul Hastings, comments on the gender pay gap reporting and the BBC publishing its data.

The BBC results today illustrate the real litigation risk for employers arising from the publication of their gender pay gap, amplified by public indignation arising from the fact that these salaries are paid by the license fee.

Two thirds of those earning over £150,000 are men. However, the real story here is that the report also suggests that the BBC may also be in breach of equal pay laws if it cannot show that men and women are being paid equally for doing the same or comparable jobs.

Typically, an employer will show this by establishing factors that legitimately differentiate pay such as levels of responsibility, nature of work, experience and geographical location. This will be a tough sell when the presenters are in the same studio.

“The deadline for publication of the gender pay gap data is April 2018. Employers need to be acting now to run the pay gap numbers, consider a privileged equal pay study, review their D&I initiatives and determine the appropriate voluntary context in which to present their results or they too will face the BBC backlash.”

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