Equal pay report finds that women at the BBC are still paid ‘far less’ than men
Commenting on the latest DCMS report criticising pay at the BBC, Mishcon de Reya Employment Partner Jennifer Millins - who represented Carrie Gracie in her equal pay dispute with the organisation - said:
"The BBC's ongoing failure to recognise the important distinctions between 'fair pay', 'equal pay' and the 'gender pay gap' can only exacerbate the frustration of the many BBC women still locked in protracted internal complaint procedures. The concept of 'fair pay' that the BBC insists on referring to in answer to allegations of discriminatory pay practices has no specific legal meaning. A 'gender pay gap' is a statistical measure used to assess the average pay for men and women across an organisation. A gender pay gap can arise for a number of structural reasons and, while it may point to underlying issues within an organisation, is not in and of itself unlawful. Neither of these concepts addresses the very serious allegations of pay discrimination made by several hundred women at the BBC, or the DCMS Select Committee's conclusion that the BBC has operated an unlawful pay practice. Equal pay is the employer's legal duty to pay men and women the same for equal work. Crucially, failure to provide equal pay is unlawful sex discrimination.
"The BBC's apparent refusal to properly grapple with the conclusions of the Select Committee's report could be considered a breach of its public sector equality duty. This is the enhanced duty owed by public bodies to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity in the workplace. Unless the BBC radically rethinks its position, it will further erode the trust of Parliament, its workforce and the license-fee paying public. As well as the individual legal claims that BBC employees can bring in the Employment Tribunal, the BBC will remain exposed to scrutiny by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and by the government."
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