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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45348
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Im actually asking this for my daughter. Up until recently

Resolved Question:

I'm actually asking this for my daughter. Up until recently she worked as a self-employed yard hand at local stables and an interview came up for a much better job for which she had / needed time off and they became rather shirty with her saying she needs to work notice, etc. before she'd even got the job. When she did get the job they terminated her position (via facebook) but she has about £700 in unpaid invoices. I've written to them twice asking when they're going to be paid (on her behalf) and obviously said that court is an option and each time we've had sarcastic emails back about her getting me to help her, that she needs to grow up, etc. as well as accusing her of posting 'sexually explicit' pictures on her twitter account when they were showing as her employers (but after the termination).

They keep trying to get her to go to their premises for a meeting but she doesn't feel comfortable doing this because they will be verbally abusive and she's offered to go up there with me or her mum, a mediator (at shared expense) or if they let her record the meeting but the constantly refuse quite rudely if I'm honest and dictate terms even though I guess it's not strictly governed by the disciplinary 'companion' rules since she's been terminated. We've offered them mediation (at shared cost) and they've declined saying they don't want a mediator - they just seem hell bent on getting her up there on her own and she doesn't want to because she feels vulnerable and of course is inexperienced in these matters.

Her latest response offers to meet at a neutral location or for them to come to our house as we have no issues with that (they refuse to invite us onto their property).

Any suggestions ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Are the invoices for time already worked by her?

Customer:

Hi, we discussed this before........so hello again. Yes, she has worked the time but has no formal contract. She was there since December last year and obviously has previous invoices and corresponding payments.

Customer:

I'd rather not go to court with this, but they're just being so stubborn about a 'meeting' to discuss the situation.

Ben Jones :

Hi, the issue is that you simply cannot force them to attend and meet with you. Whilst this may be the option you prefer and it may also be quite a good opportunity to discuss this, sadly they can only meet with you if they are willing to do so. Therefore, if they are adamant that they would not be doing so, you cannot really do much apart from take the next steps and possibly make a claim in the courts as it would be the next step. You may also find that if you were to claim then you could be seen that you are taking this seriously and would pursue it in any event so they could reconsider their position, but of course that cannot be guaranteed

Customer:

it's the other way around. They're trying to force my daughter to meet them on their premises. She wants to meet them to discuss it rather than go to court (initially), but she doesn't want to go on her own but they won't be reasonable about someone going with her.

Customer:

until she meets them, they won't pay

Customer:

so they're constantly dictating terms to her - there's no flexibility/give and take

Ben Jones :

Oh sorry, my misunderstanding. Same rules would apply though – she cannot be forced to meet with them and it would be for them to try and negotiate and agree on what terms they meet. If they cannot agree on that, each party would have to consider if they want to compromise further and make any more concessions to try and facilitate a meeting.

Customer:

there's no negotiation. We've offered a mediator (at shared expense), me or my wife, recording the meeting, etc. and each time it's a no with lots of sarcasm about growing up, etc. towards her, but she doesn't feel strong enough to deal with them on her own - she's been through hell in the past, so isn't strong (I won't elaborate).

Customer:

they'll only let a mediator go at her expense or a solicitor both of which will cost as much as they owe her so is pointless

Customer:

so we can't 'insist' on someone going with her then ?

Ben Jones :

no, I am afraid at this stage neither of you have any real negotiating power to make such demands - you need the agreement of the other party for it to happen

Customer:

but we're trying to be flexible and they're constantly refusing unless on their terms, so does that stand a little in our favour if court is the only option ? I also think we discussed the issue of no contract before in that it's implied given how long she's been there and has previous invoices, payments plus they've not disputed the outstanding invoices in any of their replies.

Ben Jones :

they may get criticised but that would not change the initial position of whether the money is owed or not, so in terms of improving your prospects of success, it won't change those

Customer:

they keep throwing up that she doesn't have a contract, but I guess implied is ok ?

Ben Jones :

yes but the court needs to be satisfied what its terms were - they could be anything and it would be for the court to decide based on the usual practices over the period of employment as to what terms would have become implied

Customer:

and what's your 'feeling' on this. Is it worth pursuing or just let it go ?

Ben Jones :

so difficult to say, I simply do not have sufficient detail to tell you yes or no, but the risks are not that great as this would be the small claims court so even if you lose you would not be left much out of pocket

Customer:

ok, I guess we'll have to see what their response is to the offer of doing it away from their premises or at our home is and go from there

Ben Jones :

she can always try to attend and can suspend the meeting at any time she does not feel comfortable

Customer:

yeah, won't work like that. She was there when they got rid of the last person who left their office in tears.

Customer:

thanks anyway

Ben Jones :

Sorry can you please clarify the poor service rating?

Customer:

sorry, I pressed the wrong face and didn't realise. Will do it again.

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45348
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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