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Tool, weapon or cloaking device? The role of job evaluation in determining equal value in tribunals

Gilbert, K. (2005) Tool, weapon or cloaking device? The role of job evaluation in determining equal value in tribunals. Employee Relations, 27 (1). pp. 7-19. ISSN 0142-5455

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Job evaluation was defined by the National Board for Prices and Incomes (1968, p. 1) as the comparison of jobs by the use of formal and systematic procedures ... in order, after analysis to determine the relative position of one job to another in a wage salary hierarchy. This definition recognised the role of negotiation or consent but also imbedded concepts of logic, justice and equity (National Board for Prices and Incomes, 1968). Since then there has been considerable interest in the methods and use of job evaluation and in the UK the methods became incorporated into the Equal Pay Act 1970 by allowing "work rated as equivalent" claims between men and women where a study had been undertaken using various headings (for instance effort, skill, decision), Section 1.5 EPA. Later, in the 1983 Amendment Regulations job evaluation methods were given a significant role in determining whether jobs were "equal value" where jobs were not already covered by satisfactory job evaluation. This paper examines the methods of job evaluation that have been deemed to be satisfactory by the Employment Tribunal system in order to achieve non discriminatory pay between men and women. Before examining the Employment Tribunals' approach, the paper will first focus on research already undertaken with a view to assessing job evaluation methods as an approach to achieve pay equity. It then examines the establishment of standards set by case law and goes on to consider the way in which job evaluation methods have been used in employment tribunal cases, how the standards apply, and whether there are wider issues being considered.