Woman awarded £24,000 in sex discrimination case

An Employment Tribunal has awarded a UK woman £24,000 in compensation upon finding that she had been denied equal pay and opportunities for career progression due to her gender.

Amy Arnold, East Anglia, worked as a Procurement Specialist for UK Power Networks. She was paid a salary of £35,000 – which she soon realised was considerably less than what her male colleagues were being paid for working in similar roles.

Ms Arnold raised the issue with her employer on several occasions – but her concerns were ignored for a period of around 18 months, during which UK Power Networks “constantly moved the goal posts,” Norwich Employment Tribunal was told.

Senior bosses reportedly told Ms Arnold that she needed to improve her skills by undertaking a series of exams. They added that she also needed to hit higher performance criteria.

Ms Arnold managed to pass the exams requested and successfully improve her performance within the company, but was still not offered a pay rise, the Tribunal heard.

She decided to apply for a promotion, despite feeling that she “never stood a chance of an equal playing field” as she had become a “thorn in the side” of her superiors.

Following an interview, Ms Arnold was passed over for the promotion, which was handed to a male colleague who was less qualified and less experienced than her, the Tribunal was told.

Considering the case, an Employment Tribunal Judge found that Ms Arnold was “subjected to less favourable treatment on the grounds of her sex.”

It ruled that she was “victimised” for raising the issue of equal pay with her employer and that UK Power Networks had “directly discriminated” against her.

Speaking after the case, Ms Arnold said: “I’m really pleased I did take the decision to go to Court and I feel like I’ve been totally vindicated.

“The Judge has seen that I was doing nothing wrong and I was being treated unfairly.”

“I hope they [UK Power Networks] have learnt that it isn’t acceptable to treat people unequally, because there should be equal pay for equal work,” she said.

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Donna Martin

Donna Martin

Partner at Mackrell Turner Garrett
Donna Martin is a Partner in the Employment team at Mackrell Turner Garrett’s London office. She advises both employers and employees on a full range of contentious and non-contentious issues. As an employment law expert, Donna has significant experience in drafting employment contracts and handbooks, advising on grievance and disciplinary procedures and preparatory work prior to tribunals, including advising on the advantages and disadvantages of settling cases.