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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47355
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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myself and another girl were employed in a nail salon. The

Resolved Question:

myself and another girl were employed in a nail salon. The boss was a boss from hell, she refused to give us an employment contract, ebven though I asked for one on several occasions. Our job roles were uncertain, I was told at interview I would be in a managerial position, in charge of the salon etc. I was told at interview my salary was £8 per hr. We didnt know if we were going to be paid weekly or monthly,we didnt get paid for 5 weeks, then when I was paid it was £7.50per hour. I confronted her with this and she denied ever saying she would pay pay £8. The issue wasnt resolved. We didnt know anything about holidays, start of holiday year etc. Even our starting and finishing times were uncertain. She was continuously bullying, rude and we felt we couldnt ask for anything, either for the good of the salon or for ourselves. She expected us to use inferior industrial chemicals instead of products especially produced for nails. Health and safety was totally ignored, no sign was up and on several occasions Myself, the other girl fell off the stools we had to sit on all day, as the wheels would just run away with it, I told her a client nearly fell off one as she went to sit down, I was laughed at. Wires were running under our desks and we would trip over them numerous times.There are many many other things i could tell. The other girl and I decided to open a salon around the corner and clients gave us their numbers to contact them. We have the numbers but havent contacted them as we believe they will find us anyway.We were employed there nearly 3 months. After we left (I was sacked as she was again abusive to me but for the first time I retaliated and said I was sick of being treated like an errant school girl so she told me to leave , i offered notice but she didnt want me to work, I collected my things and left. The other girl simply didnt go back to work. She is a lot younger and felt very intimidated by her. They found out about us opening a shop and started sending numerous abusive texts and threats. Her partner even came to both our houses and was rude abusive and threatening. He wouldnt leave when asked to by my husband and by the other girls mother. The police are involved, he was given an harrassment warning which they both ignored as they came to our shop whilst we were decorating getting ready for opening, they were raising their voices , shouted out insults and even shouted out an accusement to me that i Was a till thief. Again the police came , we and our family members have given statements to the police and the police have told us they will get a caution if they admit what they have done or it will go to court. Our wages should have been paid last Friday, but they werent so I sent an email requesting they pay them in the next week or I will take it further, Acas told me to do it this way. She replied "my solicitor will be in contact with you shortly, do not contact me again" Where do we stand for unpaid wages and also should we be worried they will sue us for stealing business even though we had no contract of any kind?
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. How much are you owed?
Customer:

Iam owed £1308

Ben Jones :

Hi, the employer’s failure to pay you most likely amounts to an unlawful deduction from wages, which is made illegal under the Employment Rights Act 1996.


 


In order to try and resolve this, the employer should be contacted in writing, advised that this is being treated as unlawful deduction of wages and ask them to pay back the money within 7 days. Advise them that if they fail to pay the money that is owed, legal proceedings could follow.


 


If the employer does not return the money as requested, the following options are available:



  1. Employment Tribunal - the time limit to claim is only 3 months from the date the deductions were made. To make the claim, form ET1 needs to be completed and submitted - you can find it here: https://www.employmenttribunals.service.gov.uk/employment-tribunals

  2. County Court – this is an alternative way to claim and the advantage is that the time limit is a much longer 6 years and is usually used if you are out of time to claim in the Tribunal. The claim can be made online by going to: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.


 


Hopefully by warning the employer you are aware of your rights and are not going to hesitate taking further action they will be prompted to reconsider their position and work towards resolving this.


 


As to you opening a shop and working in competition, that in itself is in no way illegal or wrong. You have the right to open a shop, even in close proximity to the old employer and can work in competition if necessary, even taking their clients or allowing them to come to you. These issues would be dealt with by way of a specific restrictive covenant contained in your contract or a separate formal agreement, but as such did not exist then you will not be prevented from doing what you did and can safely work in competition or in the area, even if their old clients come to you as a result. This is just fair trade and the public can be given a choice as to who they use for these services.

Customer:

Thank you for that reply,do you think her reply to my email asking for my wages to be paid ("my solicitor will be contacting you shortly, do not contact me again") was a bluff? what reason would her solicitor be getting in contact with me for?

Customer:

Their shop has been shut since last Thursday and we have heard that they are closing it down and a close relative of theirs is opening it with a new name. It is a Ltd company. Will this have an effect on us collecting our wages? thank you

Ben Jones :

It could certainly be a bluff, even if there is no claim you could still be contacted by a solicitor and issued with threats about something - it does not mean they can actually sue you though. You have your rights to pursue in the meantime which you can do regardless of what she has said.

Who was the employer before - was it a Ltd company, or was the employer self employed?

Customer:

it was ltd

Ben Jones :

If it was a Ltd company then it will be responsible for its own debts, which means you cannot pursue the people behind it. So if it is closing down that could affect what you get back, although if necessary you can pursue insolvency proceedings against it to try and get anything that is left in it, like money or assets to pay for your wages - it is a long process though and without guarantee you will succeed, but if they are closing down it could be the only path to take.

Customer:

the bosses partners sister is going to reopen it with a new name, it was Tempus nails and beauty in Wetherby, it is going to be called Red.

Customer:

i was talking with acas and they said its still possible to try to claim back money from the person as the judge will decide, but I am not sure. can we use the TUPE act to claim back what we are owed, a new company is going to be formed but it will still be doing the same business, nails etc?

Ben Jones :

Highly unlikely you will be allowed to claim back from the individuals, this is very rarely allowed and only in serious cases of fraud or negligence and this is not the case here. You won't be able to rely on TUPE because you were not employees of the company when the transfer took place

Customer:

is this all an elaborate ruse to get out of paying us? if they become insolvent then does all the stock etc have to be sold off to cover their debts, or will the new company use it?

Ben Jones :

I can't say if that is the reason for what they are doing now. If they become insolvent then the appointed insolvency practitioners will have to pay off any existing debts with the assets they have before any changes are considered

Customer:

Do they have to be insolvent to close down the business? if they arent insolvent and close it down does this make any difference to us and our claim?should we try through the normal channels (acas etc) employment tribunal? to get our money back and then try insolvency proceedings?

Ben Jones :

No they do not, a business can be closed down at any time. You should try the normal routes first and if they then refuse to pay you and you have a formal judgment against them you can instigate insolvency proceedings to pursue the matter further

Customer:

What about getting the money from the national insurance fund? does that happen when a company is insolvent and you cant get your money any other way?

Ben Jones :

the NIF can step in if the employer is insolvent and they are unable to pay you what you are due, although the amount you can recover will be capped. But for them to step in the employer would have to be formally made insolvent first

Customer:

ok,sorry, one more question, if they close the company without being insolvent is the closed company responsible for their debts?

Customer:

or the new one?

Ben Jones :

it would be the old one

Customer:

so just simply closing wouldnt be an answer for them to get out of paying us?

Ben Jones :

well they can close it and move on, it would then be for you to pursue them and try to make them pay and instigate insolvency proceedings or take them to court if needed

Customer:

ok, thank you very much

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome, all the best

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