Brunnhofer v Bank der Osterreichischen Postparkasse AG: ECJ 26 Jun 2001

Europa Equal pay for men and women – Conditions of application – Difference in pay – Definition of ‘the same work and ‘work of equal value – Classification, under a collective agreement, in the same job category – Burden of proof – Objective justification for unequal pay – Effectiveness of a specific employee’s work.
Ms Brunnhofer worked in an Austrian bank and claimed equal pay with a male colleague. Both were classified under a collective agreement in the same category but from the time of his recruitment the male received an individual supplement higher than the supplement received by Ms Brunnhofer. The Bank claimed that there were rejected reasons for the difference in the supplements. According to the Bank the male comparator carried out more important functions than Ms Brunnhofer who is not authorized to enter into binding commitments on behalf of the Bank, and also the quality of their work was said to be different.
Held: ‘the fundamental principle laid down in Article 119 of the Treaty and elaborated by the Directive precludes unequal pay as between men and women for the same job or work of equal value, whatever the mechanism which produces such inequality, unless the difference in pay is justified by objective factors unrelated to any discrimination linked to the difference in sex . . . ‘ A finding of inequality in pay between the appellant and her main comparator would not be sufficient basis for concluding that discrimination prohibited by Community Law exists. Firstly, it must be ascertained whether the employees concerned were performing work of equal value and secondly ‘the differences in treatment prohibited by article 119 are exclusively those based on the difference in sex of the employees concerned – see Jenkins’. The ECJ then set out a stage by stage approach with the onus firstly on the employee to prove that her pay was less than that of her comparator and that her work was the same or of equal value so that ‘prime facie she is the victim of discrimination which can be explained only by the difference in sex’

C-381/99, [2001] ECR 4961, [2001] EUECJ C-381/99, [2001] 1RLR 271
CitedJ P Jenkins v Kingsgate (Clothing Productions) Ltd ECJ 31-Mar-1981
ECJ The fact that work paid at time rates is remunerated at an hourly rate which varies according to the number of hours worked per week does not offend against the principle of equal pay laid down in article 119 . .

Cited by:
FollowedBarton v Investec Henderson Crosthwaite Securities Ltd EAT 6-Mar-2003
EAT Sex Discrimination – Inferring Discrimination
The claimant sought compenstion for sex discrimination. She appealed a finding of a material factor justifying the difference in pay.
Held: The new . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 26 January 2022; Ref: scu.162778