24 Aug 2013

Court rules on wage discrimination

5:57 am on 24 August 2013

An employment lawyer says a court judgement could be a step towards higher wages in industries dominated by low paid women.

The judgement is linked to the case of a woman working at a rest home who has taken her employer to court arguing low wages for aged care workers amount to gender discrimination.

Peter Cullen from Cullen Law says a preliminary decision from the Employment Court has found that low wages can be considered discriminatory to women, even if there is a small group of men earning the same amount.

Mr Cullen says the court also suggested it has the power to order a company to increase wages under the Equal Pay Act.

However, he says it is likely appeals will be lodged against those decisions.

The case itself has yet to be heard.

Some 92% of aged care workers are women and caregivers employed by the rest home in the court case earn $15 an hour or less.