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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Hi, Is an e-mail legally binding? If a claim is made

Resolved Question:

Hi,

Is an e-mail legally binding?

If a claim is made where acceptance of a repayment plan was confirmed via e-mail by the defendant, can the e-mail acceptance be used by the claimant as a binding agreement?

Kind regards
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I clarify whether court proceedings were actually issued please?

Joshua :

If so were you the claimant or the defendant?

Customer:

Hi Joshua. I have just received a claim (I am the claimant) and am trying to decide whether to defend the claim. My previous employer paid me a bonus

Customer:

Hi Joshua. I have just received a claim (I am the claimant) and am trying to decide whether to defend the claim. My previous employer paid me a bonus last June, I resigned in September and they decided that the money was a loan/salary advance and tried to deduct from my final salary. In order to get paid, they said i must first agree to a repayment plan. I agreed by e-mail, never signed/sent them back the repayment plan and they are now pursuing me for the monies owed.

Customer:

Sorry of course I am the "defendant"

Joshua :

Thank you. May I clarify - the repayment plan was for repayment of the bonus which they now claim was a loan? Are they still withholding your final salary payment?

Customer:

correct - it was paid as a bonus. In September they called it a loan and are now referring to it as a salary advance. They did release my final salary in October. Because I was financially unstable at the time I agreed to the repayment plan by e-mail and subsequently released the first of 4 monthly installments of £1k to them in November. There is £3k outstanding according to the repayment plan.

Joshua :

Thanks. Are there any provisions in your contract that allow them to claw back bonuses - for example if you resign within a certain period thereafter? Do you have evidence that the amount was originally paid as a bonus?

Customer:

Thanks. No, there are no provisions in the contract. I also don't have any evidence, the money was simply transferred to my account. However, there is certainly no evidence that the money was a loan/salary advance and I didn't sign any documents to that affect

Joshua :

Thanks so there was no accompanying letter or email or anything at all? What about your payslip? Was the amount shown on the same?

Customer:

No, unfortunately it didn't show on a pay-slip (it was actually paid outside of the regular monthly payroll) and was simply transferred to my account. There was no supporting documentation at all.

Joshua :

How odd. Thank you.

Joshua :

You may wish to refer to s14 Employment Rights Act. This provides that an employer may not deduct or withold your wages without your agreement.

Joshua :

If they do then they cannot subsequently seek to recover the funds they have unlawfully attempted to recover at a later stage.

Joshua :

Accordingly if your ex employer unlawfully withheld your salary without your agreement prior to any agreement you may have made by email you may be able to rely on s14 to prevent them recovering any monies they attempted to unlawfully withold prior to that email.

Joshua :

Subject as above, in terms of that email, an email can constitute a legally binding agreement providing its terms are clear to establish what was being agreed.

Joshua :

It would be necessary for the information in the email exchange to satisfactorily establish what was being agreed and that you clearly agreed to it in order for it to be so binding.

Joshua :

However as above if an unlawful witholding or deduction was made from your salary without your agreement then you may wish to consider a defence under s14 ERA and in addition on the basis that the payment was made to you as a bonus and no request was made by you for a loan or salary advance at the time. Although there may be no documentation available you can still provide your own statement as to wha tyou were told the money was and who told you this.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Joshua :

I am just about to log off. Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?

Customer:

Thanks Joshua - I don't require any further info.

Joshua :

If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.

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