The BBC is facing 15 employment claims with "lots of women" being refused access to colleagues' pay by the broadcaster, an employment tribunal heard today.
Newswatch anchor Samira Ahmed accused her employers of breaching equal pay laws after fellow presenter Jeremy Vine personally revealed his pay to her and is claiming nearly £700,000 in back pay.
Her barrister Claire Darwin challenged HR boss Lisa Tsalavos's claims that less than three percent of pay queries the BBC received from staff were equal pay issues - rather than fair pay issues - which resulted in a change in pay.
She said: "What you have is 162 women who were on air having their queries resolved with a pay adjustment which results with them getting a pay increase but they don't get back pay or interest do they?
"By categorising them as fair pay cases rather than equal pay the BBC is saving itself a lot of money isn't it because it's avoiding a lot of back pay and interest."
Mrs Tsalavos said she could not comment without having the evidence before her and added "I have no direct knowledge of that" when the barrister added: "Are you aware that 15 cases have either been confirmed in the employment tribunal against the BBC or having notified to ACAS at the moment... including an equal pay claim?
"Here you have lots of women concerned that they are not being paid equal pay, asking the BBC to provide information in order for them to ascertain whether they have a valid equal pay claim or not and the BBC refuses to provide it?
"Had Mr Vine not told the claimant what his pay was a couple of months after this letter was sent, that information would have been outside her knowledge wouldn't it?"
Mrs Tsalavos said she accepted this but added the BBC did not disclose how many men and women were in each pay bracket's quartiles unless there were at least ten men and ten women within the particular grading asked for.
The tribunal continues.