Over 70 women are to take legal action against the Met Office after allegations emerged of sex discrimination at the well-known weather forecaster.
The organisation is being accused of paying women less than men for similar roles, prompting 76 members of the workforce to file Employment Tribunal claims.
The group are being supported by Prospect, the trade union which represents professionals including scientists and engineers.
It is understood that, if successful, the claims would cost the Met Office – which employs more than 1,000 staff in total – hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Tony Bell, Prospect’s national secretary, said that he hoped negotiations with management would enable the matter to be settled before formal proceedings got underway.
A Met Office spokesman said: “We are committed to attracting, maintaining and developing the very best people.
“We recognise and value the contribution our staff make and are aware that they underpin our success. We always endeavour to act in a positive way in our dealings with our staff and appropriately reward their achievements.
“As this is an ongoing legal case it’s inappropriate for us to comment on it at this time.”
Lara Murray, an Associate and employment law expert with Palmers, said: “The issue of men and women being paid differing amounts for similar jobs continues to attract significant publicity and this is likely to continue following the introduction of a new requirement earlier this month for larger companies to publish details of their gender pay gap.
“If you believe that you are being paid less than colleagues because of your gender, it is important to seek expert legal advice as to your options. It may be the case that you are able to pursue a case on the grounds of discrimination.”
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