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Sainsbury's equal pay claim

Leigh Day is currently bringing a group claim on behalf of Sainsbury's store workers on the grounds of equal pay.

Since the group claim began in August 2015, we have had over 1,500 Sainsbury’s colleagues register with us, with this number growing daily. To date, we have successfully issued hundreds of claims in the Employment Tribunal and this number will increase as the claim continues.

You can read some early coverage of this case in The Guardian.
SupermarketThis case is about whether workers in Sainsbury’s stores do work of “equal value” with workers in the distribution centres. Sainsbury’s female employees claim that they are due pay equal to that of the company’s predominantly male warehouse staff, on the basis that their work is of the same value. If it is, and we can show that the reason for the difference in pay between the shops and the distribution centres is unjustified sex discrimination, then the claims will be successful. This will mean that employees in the underpaid jobs in Sainsbury’s stores will be able to claim six years’ worth of back pay (five years in Scotland) to compensate for the discriminatory difference in earnings.

These claims are brought under the Equality Act 2010 or (where applicable) under the Equal Pay Act 1970. The claimants claim that they are entitled to the benefit of the equality clauses within this legislation, which has the effect of modifying their terms of employment so that they are no less favourable than the corresponding terms enjoyed by their male comparators. This is an important case to promote equality and challenge how large retailers pay their employees in different areas of their business.

In 2012, Leigh Day brought a successful equal pay claim against Birmingham City Council on behalf of female employees claiming they were doing an equivalent job to their male counterparts. The Supreme Court held that the case could be heard in the High Court instead of the Employment Tribunal, thereby extending the time limit to bring the claims to six years from the six month deadline in the tribunal. Both the ASDA and Sainsbury’s equal pay claims brought by Leigh Day are the first mass claims to be brought against a private sector employer since the 2012 Supreme Court ruling.

Anyone (male or female) who has worked at a Sainsbury's store in England in the last six years, or Scotland in the last five years, is entitled to bring a claim. To register an interest, please email us at or call our equal pay team on 0845 494 0744.

We are continuing to arrange meetings for interested colleagues across the country in the next few months. The meetings will be an opportunity for any Sainsbury’s colleagues who would like more information to come down and talk to the team who will be handling the case.

A meeting in your local area can be requested by using a form, provided by our partners, Pay Justice.

Please be assured that strong victimisation laws are in place to prevent any negative action being taken against you for bringing an equal pay claim. If you have any concerns about this, you can call 0845 494 0744 and speak to our team in confidence. 

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