In the recent case of Samira Ahmed v BBC, the Tribunal considered whether Samira Ahmed’s work on Newswatch was like, or of equal value to, Jeremy Vine’s work on Points of View for equal pay purposes. Ms Ahmed was paid £440 per episode whilst Mr Vine was paid £3,000 per episode. Whilst the BBC tried to defend the differentials in pay, such as Mr Vine having negotiated a deal to work exclusively for the BBC, the Tribunal found that the differential in pay was not necessary given that Mr Vine was unable to work elsewhere. The Tribunal ultimately found that Ms Ahmed was underpaid by £700,000.
Given the success of Ms Ahmed, this case may well embolden others to bring similar complaints. To minimise the risk of employers being held liable for potentially hefty equal pay awards, employers should conduct informal pay audits to verify that they are paying both female and male staff equal pay for carrying out the same or similar work. Transparent processes for determining pay should also be introduced and communicated to the workforce.