News surrounding the Tesco equal pay case has been taking the HR world by storm, and smart managers and business owners everywhere are already beginning to ask what useful tidbits they can gleam from the case that will help them in their own operations. Luckily for HR managers, Tesco’s troubles can be translated into useful tips, and by reading up in this case you can be better prepared for the changes that are doubtlessly coming to how we manage our economy.

The biggest claim ever

The astonishingly large case surrounding Tesco is almost hard to wrap one’s head around; claims that female employees were regularly cheated out of their rightful wages could put the company on the hook for more than 4 billion pounds, a breathtaking figure likely to make any HR manager’s heart stop. While some claim that the equal pay case is a necessary step that must be taken to ensure greater workplace equality, others are beginning to warn of the precedent it may set, and savvy managers everywhere are beginning to gear up for changes in how these claims are handled.

As Tesco’s case clearly demonstrates, statements from the company assuring workers and the broader public alike that every step has been taken to ensure staff members are being paid “fairly and equally” isn’t enough to prevent a claim that could shuttle your business. Managers need to understand that when it comes to workplace equality, it’s vital to put your money where your mouth is, as a failure to follow through on pledges of fairness will inevitably backfire and end up costing your company serious cash and prestige.

If your company hasn’t already disclosed the gap between men and women’s pay, and taken immediate measures to try and shorten and eventually close that gap entirely, you need to get moving immediately. In today’s economy, there’s no excuse for inequality, and those who are trying to skirt by on old ways to save a buck or two will end up shooting themselves in the foot and permanently crippling their company’s long-term prospects.

With Britain’s gender gap justifiably being put under the spotlight presently, it’s only a matter of time until widespread equality movements become the norm elsewhere, too. Companies who aren’t operating in the UK or anywhere near Europe may think that they’re insulated from the results of the Tesco claim, but the reality is that this massive case will generate a serious global precedent that will go a long way towards governing future employee-employer relationships.

The coming tide of claims

Experts are already beginning to accurately predict that Tesco’s claim will generate a tidal wave of additional claims aimed at reducing inequality in the workplace, some more valid than others. While there is an inexcusable amount of inequality and discrepancy in payments between men and women in today’s international economy, many nefarious actors will also be using this opportunity to put forward frivolous suits in the aim of earning a payday.

To ensure that your business remains not only fair and equal, but insulated from false charges of wrongdoing, you’ll want to assemble your HR team and review whatever process you’ve established for employees to bring up their concerns with the company. Fostering greater transparency and enabling your employees to come forward with problems without having to fear retribution from management will go a long way towards ensuring your company continues to champion fairness while remaining secure from harmful, false claims.

For too long, the private sector has remained in its own little world, largely unconcerned with equal pay claims that were primarily revolving around public institutions and more concerned with tax help. As HR managers everywhere are rapidly coming to realize, however, things are about to seriously change, and once-insulated private sector companies who thought themselves invulnerable are now likely in the iron sights of activist and wronged workers intent on creating a more equitable workplace.

If you think you can stymy any claims against your company, legitimate or not, you need to think again; in today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever for employees from disparate backgrounds who have never even met with one another in person to connect to each other online, trading information and organizing into a powerful movement to assert their rights. With social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter having become ubiquitous, it’s fruitless to attempt to stop the organization of labor; HR managers and business owners alike should instead focus on placating them, and building more equal workspaces where everyone can succeed.

Keep your eye on the Tesco case; it’s the first of many world-changing claims to come, and the HR industry will soon be buffeted by many others like it. Continue to champion diversity, equality, and fairness in your company’s halls, and you’ll enjoy smooth sailing as others succumb to the justified rage of workers who have been silenced and mistreated for too long.