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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46782
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Dear Sir / Madam, I have a problem with my current employer. The

Customer Question

Dear Sir / Madam,
I have a problem with my current employer.
The company van provided to me broke down and I used my companies credit account with a car hire firm to hire a vehicle.
I spoke to the fleet manager about this, and he stated its fine to hire a vehicle and I did such. There was no vans available at the time and the only cars available where expensive cars such as BMW, and Mercedes.
I hired one of these expensive cars, and over a 41 day period the invoices came to just under £5,000.
Throughout this whole problem I kept my manager informed about everything.
Today I had a conference call with my manager, contract/legal manager, director and the fleet manager.
I felt like I was being attacked in this conference call, and basically they are finding ways to make me pay for these invoices.
Im not sure how, but I have a strong feeling they are.
I've looked at my company handbook, no where does it have guidelines on what cars to hire, or what the maximum daily allowance is.
After this happened, they sent an email to all employees who drive vans saying they can't hire a van more then 3 days and can only hire vans or a ford card.
Where do I stand?
Thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: 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. How long have you worked there for and is there a clause in your contract which states the employer could make any such deductions from your pay?

Customer:

Hi Ben, Thanks for this. I have worked there since October 2013 I was hired on a 6 months contract. The contract has been carrying on as a monthly rolling contract. So Since October 2013 till now.

Customer:

No I have looked at the handbook and no where does it say they can take deductions from my pay, unless there has been an overpayment.

Ben Jones :

ok thanks please let me get my response ready for you

Customer:

Ok thanks Ben. I've never used this website before, do I stay on this online chat?

Ben Jones :

you can do if you want to, or just back shortly

Ben Jones :

sorry check back

Customer:

Can I add something else to my initial question or is it too late now?

Ben Jones :

if it is relevant to the original query

Customer:

Yes. It is.

Basically after all this has happened I started to panic and get depressed. I told my manager I said give me the day off as sick which he did. I don't feel I can work with all this stress, I just want it resolved and want there reply as there thinking what to do. If this an option that would be great as I don't feel comfortable driving around stressed out.

Ben Jones :

As there is no specific policy in place to deal with any requirements on hiring vehicles or limits on what you can hire and how long for, together with the fact that you kept the employer updated and were advised by those in charge that your actions were acceptable, you should have a defence to challenge any attempt by the employer to try and make you responsible for these charges. Also there is no clause in your contract allowing them to deduct these costs from your pay so they would have to ask you to pay these voluntarily, which you can refuse to do, or they would instead have to make a court claim against you to pursue this money. However, in doing so they would have to prove that you had negligently and unlawfully incurred these costs and if you had the employer’s consent at the time, then that could be difficult. So in terms of forcing you to pay the money back, that will not be easy and if they try and take it off your wages then it would amount to an unlawful deduction of wages, which you can pursue further if necessary.

However, your rights, particularly against a potential dismissal, will be somewhat limited. I know that you have not mentioned this is a possibility but just so you know, if you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on discriminatory grounds (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, a disability, sexual orientation, etc.) or because you were trying to assert any of your statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity/paternity leave, etc.). So if the employer really wanted to remove you because of what you did, they can fairly and legally do so, without you being able to challenge it. Just bear that in mind in case it ends up that way.

Finally, you cannot force them to issue a response over this but at the same time you cannot be forced to drive whilst you are not feeling confident in doing so. However, if no response is forthcoming you will have to decide whether to continue being off sick, ask for another job which will not be affected as much by your stress or consider if you are eventually ready to return to your original position.

Customer:

Hi Ben,

Customer:

Thanks for this...the question I have is

"However, in doing so they would have to prove that you had negligently and unlawfully"

I told my manager I can only get expensive cars as this is what is available. Today he said yes I said expensive cars but he was under the impression the expensive cars related to a Vauxhall Astra, not Mercedes, & BMW's.

So does the above mean thats enough proof?

Ben Jones :

that is difficult to say....after all what is 'expensive' - that could be interpreted in many different ways depending on the circumstances. If for example the costs you incurred were double or treble the usual hire rates then it could be seen as expensive and you may have had to look around for a better deal or something more reasonable. But again, remember that this all depends on the employer actually issuing a claim against you and this is far from guaranteed at this stage

Customer: Right ok. So basically my employer has said tell them how I wish to proceed? Do I just say what you've said? Should I say I'm seeking legal advise, there's no union or anything so it feels like I've been bullied when I speak to them.
Ben Jones :

you can tell them that the main factors here are that you kept the company up to date and were specifically advised that what you proposed to do was ok - you did not do anything you were told not to, neither did you go behind the company's back.

Customer: Ok but they'll keep going over and round in circles saying I didn't tell anyone I'm hiring £70k cars as that's all available. When I did tell my fleet manager I'm hiring expensive cars. £35 a day is a usual rental but this was costing £100 a day. So it's two / three times over what they usually spend?
Ben Jones :

it can be considered unreasonable because you are significantly increasing the hire fees so the issue is whether the persons you told and who advised you it was ok were persons in authority to make such decisions

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks

Ben Jones :

Hi I see you keep coming in and out of chat but have not heard from you, can you please get back to me so I know whether you need any further help or if I should close the question, thank you

Customer: Hi
Customer: sorry I've has bad internet. Sorry. Lady question, my company isn't disputing the fact we needed to hire a car / van there disputing the fact of the type of vehicle that was hired. Now in the company handbook / policy / vehicle handbook no where it states what type of vehicle is allowed to be hired. Is this a civil matter or a matter ?
Ben Jones :

sorry not sure if your last question came through in full - you asked if it was a civil matter or some other matter? Can you please clarify what the other type you referred to was?

Customer:

Yeh hi, lets wrap this up :)

Customer:

Basically these guys are looking for any excuse for them to give me the blame of what happened however they have admitted they gave me authorisation to use the car hire credit account, and never stated what its limited for. My concern is, they'll be contacting the police saying I committed fraud by hiring expensive cars?

Ben Jones :

No, this will not be a criminal matter, do not worry about this - it is not fraud as none of this was done for personal gain, for example you did not charge them for an expensive car and then hire a cheap one and keep the difference

Customer:

Also to add to that am I right in saying its not for personal gain as I hired the car which was used for work related and not personal matter?

Ben Jones :

yes correct, this is in no way a criminal matter

Customer:

Fantastic Ben. Right I am very happy with the way you have handled this situation and my questions. Thank You, ***** ***** just ask if I have further questions related to this will I be able to ask you another question or will it go out to someone else?

Ben Jones :

you can always start your question with 'for Ben Jones' and then it will get to me

Customer:

Fantastic Ben. Hopefully in a nice way I don't have to speak to you again. (Simply it means its all been resolved)

Customer:

I wish you the best of luck in life, people like you deserve to be really successful and happy with what ever you do.

Customer:

Thank You Again

Ben Jones :

hope so too :) and of course all the best to you too and hopefully all will be resolved to your satisfaction





Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46782
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Ben,


 


This investigation with the company is ongoing.


 


I have just been advised by my managed that they are holding "some" of my pay until they have ran a full investigation.


 


Please advise is this legal? I get paid tomorrow, and I wasn't given any notice. I got debts through my roof and need the money.


 


They told me this today, now 6:15pm outside office hours and I cannot speak to them until tomorrow.


 


Thanks,


Q

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Please see the email my manager just sent me.


 


I get paid tomorrow. Please advise.


 


---------------------------------------


Thanks,


 


Hi Qasim


the company has decided that due to recent issues and the investigation into the vehicle hire and damage to tyres that you could possibly owe us for the damage and there for quit your position to avoid payment back.

included in this are some parking fines we are still not positive have been paid.

due to this the company has widthheld some of your salary until were certain all has been resolved.

if you wish to speak to me regarding this please call me tomorrow, my phone is off now and on charge due to being out all day.

please be aware im out of the office with customers so it may be best to call friday.

geoff is on holiday until monday.

unfortunately the company has been stung with fines in the past so this is a protection of funds should this happen again.

******

 

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, thanks for getting back to me. Unfortunately your question has expired as you must post any follow up queries within 7 days of the date of the original question. If you need any further help on this subject please post it as a new question on our site - you may start it with 'for Ben Jones' so that I get it and deal with it as fast as I can. Many thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks just submitted a new question. It is related to this case however!

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
thanks, please see separate response there

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