// Boots may owe £180m to colleagues if they win an equal pay claim against the retailer
// 56,000 Boots in-store employees could be eligible to join an Equal Pay Claim
Boots is facing the possibility of owing £180 million to staff over an equal pay claim set to be brought forward by laywers representing affected staff.
According to law firm Roscoe Reid, a total of 56,000 Boots in-store employees across England, Wales and Scotland could be eligible to join an equal pay claim against the retailer.
If the employees win the case, Boots could owe them a total of £180 million in back pay.
Roscoe Reid said it was working in partnership with campaign group Pay Justice on the pay claim – which has not yet been filed in court.
The claim was brought about after employees recognised that in-store staff, who are mostly women, are paid less than the predominantly male warehouse workers.
Roscoe Reid said Boots in-store workers are paid £0.73 less per hour than their distribution centre coworkers, a practice which could breach Equality Act 2010.
The law firm added that both male and female in-store staff have said that their roles entail the same amount of effort as warehouse staff.
“We believe strongly that men and women should be paid fairly, and we fight hard for those who have been treated unfairly to obtain justice,” Roscoe Reid lead lawyer Ellie Pinnells said.
A spokesperson representing Roscoe Reid told Retail Gazette that if Boots decided to settle, then the case would not be taken to court.
However, if the law firm gathered further claimants, the case would be taken to an employment tribunal.
A Boots UK spokesperson told Retail Gazette that they were not aware of the claims prior to today.
“We are surprised to hear this, and can confirm we have not received a class action based on equal pay,” the spokesperson said.
“We are confident that we pay all our colleagues fairly and lawfully.”
The Boots case is one in a series of Equal Pay Claims being run against retailers such as Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Next.