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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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An employee that was being paid cash in hand has now left

Customer Question

An employee that was being paid cash in hand has now left our company. There was no contract signed. He is now harassing us for wages that he claims is owed to him but will not supply us with an invoice. The employee in question is on job seekers allowance and receives housing benefit.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Good evening.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 months ago.

How long did he work there for?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
He was with us from December 2015 until last Friday. He has made threats and has used Facebook in attempt to damage our reputation. We are a small building company.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
The fraud department of the local job centre requested information about his employment and this is when the trouble started.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 months ago.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you in a short while. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your questions to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 months ago.

I have looked into your query in more detail but unfortunately it is not something I can assist with. I will therefore ‘opt out’ and a colleague better placed to deal with the nature of your query should hopefully pick this up soon. Please do not reply in the meantime as that will just assign the question back to me and you will experience a delay. Thank you

Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 months ago.

Hi. I've been asked to look at this.

Did he work the hours in question?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
He is saying he has worked full days when we know that there was only half days due to weather. I requested an invoice which he has been reluctant to give me and has now advised that his "accountant" has told him not too give me anything. I have been asked by the job centre to give all information regarding his employment which I know I am to do so by law. I feel this is why he does not wish to give me an invoice for his work. He is asking for the sum of £1330 for hours he has worked over the past 7 months.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 months ago.

And what do you accept owing?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Nothing. We have had several complaints from customers and other builders that he was constantly on his phone and due to his negligence we have had to replace ceilings as he put his foot through them when being in a loft. I suppose the crux of my question is are we legally obliged to pay him if he does not supply us with an invoice and he has been paid cash in hand with no contract?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 months ago.

Yes, you are liable even without an invoice and you are certainly liable to pay for the hours he did work.

The fact that you weren't happy with him does not mean that you can avoid payment I'm afraid.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 months ago.

Negligence is an entirely different issue which may give rise to a claim but it doesn't mean you don't have to pay for hours worked.

Sorry if that is bad news.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Ok, I agree that I will pay him but am I right in asking him for an invoice for the amount owed before I do so for my own accounts?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 months ago.

You are perfectly entitled to ask for one but it doesn't release you from liability if he doesn't provide one.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I have deducted the price to repair the ceiling he went through, advised that I will pay him over the next three Friday's to his bank account and will supply a receipt of payment which he is to sign. The payment will need to be spread over three Friday's due to insufficient funds. Is that suitable?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 months ago.

Not really.

You are liable to pay him for the work he has done.

If you deduct for anything at all he could sue.

The offer of a receipt is perfectly reasonable.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
But surely we should not be liable to repair and replace something that was broken by him. The area he damaged was not on our list of building works so was not quoted for in the original quote to the customer. We now have to pay for the materials and a day's labour to replace and plaster the ceiling.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 months ago.

well, you would have a claim in negligence.

But you cannot just deduct from wages.

You would have to sue at the small claims court.

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