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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3653
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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My grandson was given a job in May of this year. He was

Customer Question

My grandson was given a job in May of this year. He was laid off after 2 and a half weeks for vague reasons, with no warning. The real question I am asking concerns the letter he received the following week, informing him (no warning) that £164 was being deducted from what he was due to receive, as they say he had left a water heater (for drinks etc.) switched on, and it had smoke damaged the wall and ceiling. There was a notice saying it should be switches off after use. They cannot prove he left it switched on. The reasons I wish to pursue this are as follows.
1) I have contacted the manufacturers of the heater in question. It has a thermostat, and a heat cut-off fitted internally, and should be connected to the mains supply via a suitable fuse or consumer unit. I discussed this with the manufacturers' technical department, and they stated that the only way what I have describes could happen, is incorrect wire type, or incorrect wiring of the heater itself.There are other reasons.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your question and welcome.
Unless there is a specific clause in his employment contract that says they are allowed to deduct this money for damage he causes, then it would amount to an unlawful deduction of wages.
If you have run out of time to make a claim at the employment tribunal then he will have to simply make a claim for the money in the county court https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome
Before commencing a claim you would need to give the employers 7 days notice, and you must double check his contract to ensure there is no such right of deduction.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ
Alex J. and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

There is a clause in his employment contract, referring to "damage caused by reckless or careless actions". I do not see how they can prove this refers to my Grandson. Just opinion.

Why is the senior experienced employee that locked up that night not responsible ? What about insurance, or proof of electrical safety ?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

can you answer my second message ?

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.

If they cannot prove the damage was reckless or careless then it is still an unlawful deduction of salary.

What evidence have they provided of his actions?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Opinion only. Everyone else denies it - and I replied "they would say that, wouldn't they ?". I think whether a new employee made a mistake or not, this is mercenary behaviour. I have been through this with the employer, with no change in their stance. I want to pursue this through a small claims court. What is your opinion ?

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi

Thank you.

As you say to prove his behaviour was reckless they would have to prove a) he left it switched on and b) in the eyes of an objective person acting reasonably this behaviour could forseeably lead to damage.

Was it obvious it should have been switched off? Even if there was no signage?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No. Just the sign. The manufactureres' technical team said this should never happen anyway with this heater. I have asked my Grandson directly if he admitted this, and he says he absolutely did not, as it was never raised or discussed verbally.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

You have to put the employer on notice that your grandson denies liability. Therefore their deduction of his salary is unlawful and if they do not give him the money he is owed, you reserve the right to recovery the money in the county court.

Are you saying that they effectively just invented this incident after he left?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Not that they invented it. The first thing my Grandson knew of the deduction was by letter several days after he had been laid off. They are aware that he is denying liability. I have told them that this will be taken as far as is feasible. They do not appear to intend refunding this money.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi

Thank you.

Then I am afraid you will have to make a county court claim. There is no other way to force them to pay the money if the threat of action will not work. https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome - you can start a money claim here.

You will have to start by putting them on notice of your disputing of the facts and intention to bring a claim.

I look forward to hearing from you

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Will write the employer making it clear how we feel, and what we will do next if he does not refund the money.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

If I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

SERVICE HAS BEEN V. GOOD, YOU HAVE BEEN ASKING GOOD,RELEVANT AND HELPFUL QUESTIONS, AND ANSWERING PROMPTLY TO MY QUERIES.


WHY HAVE I HAD 20 REQUESTS TO RATE YOUR SERVICE ?


COMPUTER HICCUP ??

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

My apologies - this is done by the site automatically.

Unfortunately the experts do not have any control over the site administration.

If you have no further queries I can ask administrators of the site to close the question?

Kind regards

AJ