Richard Grogan on employment law: Equal pay claims



Richard Grogan
Richard Grogan

Employment law solicitor Richard Grogan of Richard Grogan & Associates writes on a recent Labour Court case.

In the Labour Court case of G4S Secure Solutions (IRE) Limited and Noel Cantwell EDA1638 the Labour Court stated that:

“It is settle law that an Equal Pay claim must be grounded on the differences in remuneration of the complainant relative to that of a real as opposed to a hypothetical comparator with whom he or she is engaged on like work. This was made clear in Brides -v- Minister for Agriculture 4 IR 250.”

The Court then went on to consider whether the nominated comparator was employed under a Contract of Employment. The Court held that the comparator was operating in a voluntary capacity when he was engaged to assist in events and was not on a Contract of Employment on such occasions. The Court quoted the case of Allomby -v- Accrington & Rosendale College C-256/01 where the CJEU considered the definition of a “worker” in Article 141 being a person “who for a certain period of time, performs services for and under the direction of another person in return for which he received remuneration”.

The Court pointed out this application gives a wider application of equal pay then a narrow Common Law based definition of a contract for service.

The Court determined in this case that the appellant and the comparator were not performing like work. The case was dismissed.

This case is a very useful reminder of the law as applies in the area of Equal Pay. It is extremely useful that the Court took the time to set out the law on this matter. It is the practice of the Labour Court to do so and it does help in understanding to a great extend the basis under which the Court arrives at its decisions.

  • Richard Grogan is the principal solicitor at Richard Grogan & Associates Solicitors. You can subscribe to the firm’s monthly newsletter at grogansolicitors.ie.