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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46792
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I was bullied at my last job by the owner told I was too expense

Resolved Question:

I was bullied at my last job by the owner told I was too expense and therefore every month she said she wasn't sure if she could pay me each month. I was also salaried on 25000.00 a year yet she paid me by the hour and sent me home without pay if she decided there was no work for me. I was worried about my job was taken into hospital as I thought I was having a heart attack it turned out to be a panic attack brought on by stress. I found a new job and walked out of this job in feb as I was afraid if I gave notice she would not pay me.She has sent me an invoice for training that she gave me but she has invoiced me for training I was qualified in and for getting me to the training and for a days pay. She is holding 2 weeks pay plus holiday money and commission and my p45. She has now sent me a form from the small claims court sueing me for 513.00 pound. Acas tells me she cant charge me for travelling and anything I am qualified in or paying me for the day I trained. Am I liable to pay this money. It is my believe that she in fact owes me 196,01 when I take off the training I am qualified in and travelling time and days pay should I counter claim I am not sure what to do about the form from small claims
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Was there a formal agreement to repay any training?

Customer:

I signed a contract which she hasn't given me a copy of. It turned out to be a one year maternity cover contract which I only found out after I left my last job and it said I was to pay back any training I received if I left before a year was up, I am not disputing the paying of the training except the laser training which acas says as I was trained in before I joined. I should not be liable for that training or the days pay as I was working for her and the traveling cost as she chose to send me to Birmingham. The laser training was required for her own insurance as I was fully qualified.

Ben Jones :

Has she broken down the claim to say what exactly she is claiming for?

Customer:

Yes she has broken down her invoice as below:

Customer:

Laser training £200.00, Salary training paid 8.25hours £98.01, Sterex training £132.00, sa;ary paid 8.25hours £98.01, train fare to Birmingham £25.40, Oxyjet training £60.00, teeth whitening training £200.00, salary paid £6.25 hours £77.22, Advanced Electrolysis training £390.00, salary paid 8.25hours £98.01 giving a total of £1457.00

Customer:

She then deducted monies on account which were Holiday pay of £490.05 and two weeks pay £456.70 and commission of £31.26 leaving me supposedly owing her £478.99 plus £35.00 court fees giving a final toal of £513..99

Ben Jones :

When you say there was training you were qualified in, do you mean she did not actually pay for any training in relation to that?


 

Customer:

I was already qualified as a laser technician but for her to be insured for me to work on her laser in her business she had to bring the laser company into her business in order for them to sign me off on her laser. This is what she is charging me the £200.00 for as the laser company charged her for coming in to do this. I don't believe that I should be liable for this as I was already qualified and subsequently over the next 5 months signed up around £18k in laser treatment programmes for her customers. So if you deduct this training and the days pay for this and the other training I received (which I am not disputing) and the travel costs for these other trainings I in fact do not owe her any money at all and she in fact would owe me.

Ben Jones :

You do have strong arguments about not having to pay the money she is claiming. Whilst employers can charge employees for any specific training or other associated costs, these need to be detailed at the outset and an agreement must be in place before the costs are incurred, where the employee is made aware of these costs and their future liability should they leave the job within a specified period. It is no good just retrospectively choosing expenses she may have incurred, without you knowing that they were incurred and that you were going to be liable for them in the future. A clear training agreement needs to have been in place for her to be able to claim what she is after now.


 


Another consideration is whether she can withhold money from your pay and holidays to cover this. It is quite likely that this would potentially amount to an unlawful deduction from wages, which is made illegal under the Employment Rights Act 1996.


 


Under law, an employer can only make deductions from, or withhold an employee’s wages in the following circumstances:



  • If it is legally allowed (e.g. to deduct tax);

  • If it is to recover an earlier overpayment of wages made by the employer; or

  • If the employee has given their explicit written agreement for the deductions to be made.


 


So unless there was a specific contractual clause allowing her to do this, the deductions will most likely be unlawful. You are certainly able to make a counter-claim against her in the court and if she decides to proceed regardless, then the court will decide who owes who and how much, but considering the above, it is unlikely you would owe her the amount she is claiming.


 

Customer:

Thank you for this; one last question; she says because I signed the employment contract I am in fact liable for all this. How will the small claims court deal with this fact as she did not give me a copy of the contract?

Ben Jones :

Did the contract detail all of the costs and the repayment liabilities?

Customer:

It said I had to pay back all training received if I left before a year was up; however the contract was only for a year as it was for maternity cover a fact I only found out when I saw the contract and by then I had resigned from my previous job.

Ben Jones :

A contract can be legally binding even if it was not signed by you, for example if you were aware of its contents and you had decided to start working under its terms, without making it clear you are refusing to accept it. However, you have another argument here and that is the bullying – that could amount to a breach of contract by the employer and make the whole contract void anyway and it would also include the repayment clauses. It is called constructive dismissal

Customer:

Would the contract still be valid as on numerous occasions she sent me home saying there was not enough work and then not paying me for those days; has she not broken our contract by those actions. Also according to the letter I received from her offering me the job she stated I would be paid £25k a year; this never happened as she only paid me (and her other staff) by the hour. I never received the salary she promised in her letter to me

Ben Jones :

these are all potential breaches you can raise in your defence that would mean she was already in breach of contract before you left

Customer:

So what should I fill in on the small claims summons she sent me?

Ben Jones :

you need to state why you do not agree with the claim and if necessary you can use the same form (N9B) to make a counter claim against the employer for what you believe she owes you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
you need to state why you do not agree with the claim and if necessary you can use the same form (N9B) to make a counter claim against the employer for what you believe she owes you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46792
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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