A female category specialist at UK Power Networks has won an equal pay claim against her employer after being denied equal pay and a promotion for 18 months.

Facts of the Case

It has also come to my attention that there are male individuals in the procurement team that are seemingly less capable than me but are on better pay packages. While I appreciate that everyone has negotiated their individual salaries when joining the business it doesn’t seem appropriate that these individuals who come to me for guidance and advice on a regular basis are earning a higher wage than me.

Tribunal’s Judgment

The tribunal found that Arnold was a victim of direct discrimination due to the failure to appoint her to the position of tactical procurement lead in 2016 and that Arnold was victimised under the Equality Act 2010, the protected act being the raising of a complaint about her pay. The judge wrote:

It is clear that Mr Waring and Mr Bird were equally frustrated, they were annoyed that this matter would not go away. There was a total lack of movement by Mr Waring and Mr Bird seemingly passing it backwards and forwards. The goal posts were changed. The claimant was clearly perceived as a thorn in their side and when the job vacancy came about she clearly was not going to be preferred under any circumstances.


Despite her treatment, Arnold remains an employee of UK Power Networks. The parties reached an agreement on compensation to include an amount for injury to feelings and loss of opportunity. Arnold received a sum of £24,000. The parties also agreed that all members of the UK procurement team were required to undergo training in the Equality Act 2010.


The issue of gender pay discrimination is high on most business agendas at the moment; the new gender pay gap regulations are fueling increased awareness of gender pay disparity amongst employees.

Complaints and grievances about perceived gender pay inequality are likely to increase over the coming months. This case is a clear example of why it is important to treat such issues seriously and in accordance with your grievance procedure. The case cautions against ignoring an employee’s concerns and treating an employee negatively as a result of their raising concerns. A complaint about pay should be dealt with in exactly the same way as any other grievance issue.

It is a credit to Arnold that she persevered with her employer. She probably would have had a strong constructive unfair dismissal claim had she decided to resign.

Written by Daniella McGuigan (partner) and Carrie-Ann Hopkins (practice assistant and legal executive trainee) of Ogletree Deakins