How do I prove unequal pay?


The recent resignation by Carrie Gracie, the China editor of the BBC, has reignited the furore over equal pay at the BBC.

Despite the BBC offering Gracie an increase in pay from £135,000 to £180,000 per annum, Gracie resigned from her role stating that the BBC had not valued her equally to her male counterparts.

If you think that you’re getting less pay than your colleagues what do you need to establish?

Equal pay

Unequal treatment between men and women in terms of pay and conditions of employment is unlawful. Employers need to give men and women equal pay if they are employed on equal work. Equal work means like work, work rated as equivalent or work of equal value.


Often employees will be doing different jobs to others in their departments. Then it will be the question of whether work is equivalent or of equal value.

Gender pay gap reporting

The information that UK employers with more than 250 staff are required to publish by 2018 is not job specific and does not prove unequal pay.

The affected organisations must publish the gender pay gap with mean and median averages. The mean average is the total of all of salaries for each sex divided by the number of men/women. The median average is the numerical value which splits the top 50% of men/women from the bottom 50% of men/women. Other information which must be disclosed includes the gender bonus gap (mean and median averages), the proportion of men and women receiving bonuses and the proportion of men and women in each quartile of the organisation’s structure.

For equal pay claims, it’s the difference in pay between the same jobs, similar jobs or jobs of equal value which is key.



You could speak to the person who you believe is earning more than you and see whether that person would be prepared to disclose their salary. Employment contracts could ban staff from talking about their pay with colleagues. However, bosses are not allowed to enforce secrecy clauses if an employee is trying to find out if they are being paid less than their colleague as a result of discrimination.


Bringing a claim

There are various issues to consider before bringing a claim. I would recommend seeking employment law advice as soon as possible.

If you need any advice on equal pay or have other employment law queries please do not hesitate to contact me on 0203 797 1264