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Secretary Of State For Justice (sued as NOMS) v Bowling [2011] EAT

A genuine material factor (such as skill and experience) can properly justify a difference in starting pay. If this causes a pay differential to continue through subsequent pay rises then there is no unlawful discrimination provided that factor fully explains that difference in pay as not being caused by the difference in sex. It is irrelevant that the original factor may no longer actually justify the difference.

Ms Bowling worked as a customer service adviser at the HM Prison Service Shared Service Centre (SSC). She started at the bottom of the pay scale (spinal point 1). A Mr Thomas was recruited to the same role about a month later but started on spinal point 3. At subsequent annual pay reviews each moved up one spinal point. Ms Bowling brought a claim for equal pay on the basis that she was being paid less to do "like work".

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