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taratill
taratill, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6339
Experience:  15 years experience of advising on employment law matters
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My former employer is trying to retain owed expenses (over

Resolved Question:

My former employer is trying to retain owed expenses (over £500) to me, for not giving one weeks notice of resignation. I had worked for them for 7 weeks, my contract stated under 13 weeks i had to give one weeks notice. However, i had sought advice about this from my line manager whilst working for them and was told on many occasions that whilst in the 'probation' period of 3 months, no notice was necessary. In effect, i took my line managers guidance as company stance.

I gave reasons for leaving, despite not needing to. The job became untenable because of a change in JD with no private or proper consultation with me, just verbal direction. The changes were significant and increased my expenses (mileage mainly). Over a third of my wage had to be set aside to enable my expenses to be met. The company reimbursed 6 weeks after the first expense being met. ie expenses for February are presented on the 10th March for payment on the 15th March. you can see that this is a significant amount of time. I joined the company on the 7th January and worked right up to the 28th February, giving notice on the 28th that i had no intention of meeting probation and would cease to work for them from that point. I was owed holiday, that I 'gave' to the company in my resignation email and also submitted my expenses at the same time. I have spoken to ACAS, who told me to write to the company or email them outlining my request for them to pay my expenses. I have had several conversations with the operations manager but the finance of the company is dealt with by the silent directors wife making financial decisions and payments of the company very nepotist. The main reason for me leaving was that fraud was being committed and I wanted no part in it. There is a lot more to it, including possible fraud and definitely a breach of the equality act 2010 against some female members of staff - abusive language and false private accusations. I am 43, recently retired from 26 years service in the Army, male and married with 3 kids. The company was a bad place to be and i wanted no further part in it. It does not surprise me that they are trying to hold onto my money that i essentially 'loaned' the company in order for me to conduct business for them.

Regards

M J Isted MBE
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  taratill replied 3 years ago.

taratill :

Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I am happy to help you today. On the face of it there is no right for your employer to retain expenses in this way. Even though technically you have breached contract by leaving without giving notice they are not entitled to punish you in this way by retaining expenses.

taratill :

If they have suffered a loss as a result of your breach of contract the correct approach would be to sue you for damages (this is highly unlikely).

taratill :

Hopefully the solicitor will agree to pay you. If they do not you can raise a claim in breach of contract and for deducdtion from wages, in the employemnt tribunal using the form you will find at www.employmenttribunals.gov.uk

Customer:

so my next step should be?

taratill :

If you have any further quesitons about this please do ask.

taratill :

Hi I have suggested that if they do not pay you should raise a claim in the employment tribunal for breach of contract and unlawful deduction from wages.

Customer:

the expenses were paid seperately to wages / salary. does this make a difference?

taratill :

Hi yes because expenses are not includeded in the statutory definition of wages, you claim should therefore solely be a breach of contract claim. I hope that clarifies matters for you.

Customer:

the line manager informing me that i need not give the one weeks notice to terminate (on at least 3 occasions) - is this a defence for non compliance with written contractual statement of giving one weeks notice? I had asked him to clarify and the answer was always that i was in probation and so no notice was required.

Customer:

having spoken to him since - he will testify to this.

taratill :

Yes indeed. You can say that it was agreed by the line manager. It is unlikely they will try to take action against you in any event as people commonly resign without adequate contractual notice.

Customer:

thank you so far. so, there email to me today that their solictor will be in touch regarding proceedings is a scare tactic?

taratill :

I would imagine it is an attempt to put you off claiming for the expenses. If the company has not suffered a financial loss as a result of you failing to work notice there is no claim they can bring.

Customer:

and they would have to 'prove' a financial loss? My line manager assured me that he would be able to cover my responsibilites during the week of notice because he was going to be in the same locations anyway.

taratill :

It would be extremely rare that a financial loss could be proven. If you manager has told you that then there clearly has not been one.

taratill :

As I said they are trying to put you off.

Customer:

so what is the next best course of action?

Customer:

and........is it going to 'cost me' and can these costs be recuperated from the company?

taratill :

To send a letter before action asking for the expenses to be paid. Give them 7 days to pay and say if they do not you will bring a claim in the county court. If you claim through the county court you can claim your costs. Your costs will simply be the court fee as you will not need a solicitor to raise this claim.

taratill :

If you have any further questions please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be gratefuil if you would take the time to rate my answer.Thank you and all the best.

Customer:

the county court. my county? or theirs?

taratill :

Your local court.

taratill :

You can actually do it on line at money claim online https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome

taratill :

All the best.

Customer:

thanks, XXXXX XXXXX here. does this negate me going to local county court or ET is i use money claim?

taratill :

You can't bring a claim in more than one court. Issuing online will mean that it will be referred to your local county court. It is just an easier way to do it. The reason I have suggested the county court/ money claim option is that you cannot claim costs in the employment tribunal.

Customer:

ok thank you. any other advice you have for me? botXXXXX XXXXXne is claim through money claim?

taratill :

No that's really all you need to know at the moment. Once you have rated my answer you can come back for follow on questions if anything else occurs to you later.

taratill :

all the best with the claim.

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