Do you know what those around you earn?

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Following a court ruling yesterday, Deutsche Bank will have to tell the world how much its senior staff earn. For female bankers in the UK, there may be a quicker way to unearth colleagues' pay.

The Frankfurt High Court ruled that if asked by its shareholders, Deutsche Bank will have to reveal the earnings of several of its senior bankers, including Anshu Jain and Michael Cohrs, co-heads of corporate and investment banking.

With pay for both men likely to reach seven and probably eight digits, the revelations should make interesting reading.

Lesser bankers who want to find out about colleagues' bonuses may be interested in learning of an alternative method of doing so, albeit one that is unlikely to go down very well with the powers that be.

Since 2003, UK employees have had a right to issue employers with an equal pay questionnaire in order to establish whether they are earning the same as colleagues who do similar work. The questionnaire is typically used by women to find out whether they are earning the same as men but could also be used by men who feel unfairly paid compared to women.

James Davies, an employment partner at law firm Lewis Silkin, says the questionnaire hasn't proven popular in the City: "Very few people are using it as a mechanism to satisfy their curiosity about what colleagues are earning."

He attributes this reticence to the fact that the move is typically seen as a confrontational step en-route to a sex discrimination claim, and that banks are usually unwilling to disclose the information even when faced with a questionnaire.

If a questionnaire is issued and a bank doesn't provide the information requested, it will count against the bank in an equal pay tribunal, says Davies.

Unfortunately, Davies says the questionnaire can only be used to highlight pay discrepancies between the sexes and not cases of one man being paid more than another for doing a similar job. For that, it takes the Frankfurt High Court.

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