Trafford Borough Council v S Cooksey & Ors (GMB Claimants) & Ors - Equal pay, sex taint, and GMF defences [2012] EAT

An employment tribunal must be careful, when deciding whether a Genuine Material Factor defence has been made out, not to consider alternative means of achieving what is actually a different aim to the legitimate aim it has already identified as being that which the employer is trying to achieve.

This is a long and complex judgment in yet another case concerning equal pay claims against local authorities. The claims concerned four types of payment which were received by the comparators but not the Claimants, namely: (1) bonus; (2) attendance allowance; (3) on-call allowance; and (4) gritting allowance. An employment tribunal ruled that the Council had failed to persuade it that (i) there was no sex taint in respect of the bonus and attendance allowance, and (ii) there was objective justification in respect of the on-call allowance. However it allowed the Council's Genuine Material Factor (GMF) defence in respect of payments (1) and (2) as against Mrs Cooksey (only), a caretaker. The Council's GMF defence in respect of the gritting allowance succeeded.

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