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Wang
03-10-06, 20:07
EU court throws out gender pay challenge

Tue Oct 3, 2006 11:04 AM BST

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Companies may pay women less than their male colleagues if their length of service is shorter because of taking time off to look after children, the EU's top court ruled on Tuesday in a blow for equal pay campaigners.

In a keenly awaited ruling, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said employers did not have to justify on a case-by-case basis their pay structures based on the length of service, unless a worker provides evidence that raises serious doubts.

The Luxembourg-based court rejected a claim by British health inspector Bernadette Cadman who had said her employer unjustifiably paid her male colleagues of the same grade more only because they had worked more years.

Cadman had argued length of service often depended on domestic circumstances such as pregnancy and maternal leave and that employers must provide special justification for paying men more than women when they hold the same post.

"Recourse to the criterion of the length of service is appropriate to attain the legitimate objective of rewarding experience acquired which enables the worker to perform his duties better," the court said in its ruling.

"There is no need to show that an individual worker has acquired experience during the relevant period which has enabled him to perform his duties better," it added.


It's weird that such a silly argument made it to EU's top court in the first place.

You can read the full news article here (http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articleinvesting.aspx?type=personalFinanceNews&storyID=2006-10-03T100441Z_01_NOA336258_RTRUKOC_0_EU-PAY.xml&WTmodLoc=Business-C9-PF-2).