The vast majority of equal pay claims have been brought in the public sector and this issue has proved tremendously expensive for public authorities in recent years. Private sector employers, by contrast, have faced very few claims.

However, an equal pay test case involving female Asda checkout staff and shelf stackers, due to be heard in the Manchester employment tribunal in the next few months, may be a sign that this is now changing.

I look at the Asda case in my article in People Management and discuss what employers could do now to assess and minimise their potential equal pay liability.

Julie Keir