Supreme Court sides with equality (and Dinah Rose)

Professions are sold to boys and girls long before they stock up on free jelly beans at that first Freshers’ Fair. From day dot, science toys, construction sets and cars are marketed at boys, who go on to dominate the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – while pink castles, dress-up dolls and play kitchens are advertised to girls, who dominate industries such as fashion and nursing.

It’s obvious which of these professions are the money-spinners, but the equal pay debate is getting far more complicated than that. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that working in different locations for the same employer is not a barrier to achieving equality – a victory for 251 classroom assistants and nursery nurses, represented by Blackstone Chambers’ Dinah Rose QC, who claim that their colleagues in male-dominated positions were being paid bonuses that they weren’t. Rose was instructed by UNISON Legal Services.

The case is the second major equal pay claim to hit the Supreme Court within a year. In October Leigh Day & Co secured a landmark ruling on equal pay claims after the Supreme Court threw out an appeal by Birmingham City Council. The group of cooks, cleaners, catering and care staff, the vast majority of whom were women, also wanted compensation for bonuses that they allege were given to colleagues in male-dominated positions.

Together with Outer Temple Chambers, the firm was named Employment Team of the Year at this week’s The Lawyer Awards for its work (click here for Awards commentary and pictures). Something tells us these teams are going to be pretty busy in the year ahead.

Also on

  • Regulators should flood legal practice course (LPC) providers with crack teams of monitors to boost teaching standards, says the University of Law’s Nigel Savage
  • Financial Times (FT) general counsel Tim Bratton is set to leave the newspaper after nearly 10 years at the helm of the publishing business’s legal team
  • Bird & Bird has appointed Dentons partner Bernhard Gemmel as a partner in its banking and finance team in Frankfurt