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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8963
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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Myself and my daughter have been running a Saturday

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Myself and my daughter have been running a Saturday afternoon children's football academy for the past 4 years for a non profit making youth football club. We also have two coaches who work there as well. The club is run by a committee of which I am a member. I am the "Head of Academy." The chair of the committee makes all payments for the club and has the final decision on payment. This has always been late, sometimes a few weeks, sometimes months and I always have to chase her up. My common law husband ran the football club and was also part of the committee until he resigned in Oct, again due to non payment. I stayed running the academy. Since then the chair has been progressively late in paying us and my daughter and I have not been paid since April. There is also 10 months money outstanding from a previous year. She ignored all emails and phone calls.We are only paid if we make enough money to cover costs which we have done. In fact we needed to make £17.600 and we made £20,500, so we made a profit. She is saying my common law husband owes money to the club and needs to meet with us. I have met her on my own. She is refusing to pay until he meets her. Can she withhold our money because she believes he owes her money?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

What is the basis of the allegation she is making that your partner owes money back to the club? Is there any substance in that?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
He was employed by the club. The agreement was he would be paid £1000 a month in return for running the club. He was given a written contract for a year that was never renewed, but he continued with the job for five years. She was always late with payment, never paid coaches, fines etc and he ended up paying for them and reclaiming the money from the club. This could take anything up to three months to be repaid. They owed him 6 months money and he had a meeting. She never told him the club did not have the money to pay him until this meeting. He agreed with her without my knowledge that he would continue doing club work until the end of the season for nothing if the 6 months money he was owed was paid. By this time he was desperate as had no other income and bills to pay. They paid the 6 months back dated pay. They agreed that at the end of the football season that they would meet again and if there was any money he would get paid and continue as manager. The day before the end of the season there was an open day and the chair gave out a letter to the whole club explaining how the club finances were used and stating that the only one to get any money from the club was my partner who was employed as manager snd received £1000 a month. He continued doing the job thinking because of the letter and earlier conversation he would be paid. He paid for many things out of his own pocket and claimed them back. He tried unsuccessfully many times to meet with her to discuss payment, but it didn't happen. She allowed him to continue and never told him not too. He resigned when he realised that he would not be paid. By this time she had people in place to do it voluntarily. He handed over money that he had collected for fees and put in his final invoice. She never acknowledged the invoice. He has since looked at his accounts and resubmitted a new invoice deducting off money that he had not given her. She has never acknowledged any of the above. He is also groundsman on football pitches that are the football clubs home ground. She is also the chairwoman of the charity that runs it. This is why he let it go on for so long, as he was worried about where we live.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

It does not matter whether the club has the money to pay him or not, he is still liable to be paid. They have to get the money from somewhere otherwise non-payment of wages is actionable either through the employment tribunal or the County Court.

The same applies to you.

She cannot withhold money from his wages without his consent. If she alleges that he owes money for whatever reason, that is a separate issue and he must agree for that to be deducted from what ever she allege that he owes, before she can do so.

At this stage, if she is asked for a meeting, there is nothing to be gained by not attending. However he is not under a duty to attend , having already resigned.

If she simply will not pay, whatever her reason, then it is a case of threatening court action if that doesn’t work, actually issuing the Small Claims Court proceedings. She will then have to defend and counterclaim for whatever she alleges he owes.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please rate the service positive. It doesn’t cost you anything but helps me greatly.

We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes.

FES

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I have attended a committee meeting, where I put to the committee that there is outstanding money owed to myself and my daughter. The committee would not respond as the chair had already spoken to them without my knowledge about the above issues. She said that she would pay and the reason she hadn't paid was because she was waiting for the end of season fees that I had collected to be handed over. I handed over the cheques but not £570 in cash. Was I wrong to do this? Can it his money be offset against what she owes us or am I legally unable to do this.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

Legally, the money owed to the club and the money owed to you are 2 separate things. If they owe you money, you cannot simply keep the £570 to offset what they owe you in exactly the same way that they cannot keep any wages owed to you if they allege that you will then money.

However, that’s between you and the club, it shouldn’t affect your daughters payment.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Can I be accused of theft by not giving over the £570.00. Could she bring legal action against me.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

Theft is the dishonest appropriation of property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving. You think that you were entitled to this money (albeit wrongly) and therefore, it is not theft. Would be different if you knew you were not entitled to hang onto it.

That’s not to say that she could allege that this was stolen and the police would then have to investigate in you would have to deal with that but it’s unlikely a prosecution would ensue because of the fact that she owes you money.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thanks that's put my mind at ease. She has been holding a gun to my head for months. Withholding money, not paying the coaches and telling them it was because I had registration forms that she needed before payment could be made. Even though I had entered all the information on the database. One more question, part of my role is entering academy members on the database but she has restricted my access and I am unable to do this. This was done without informing me. I brought it up at the committee meeting and she said she would look into it. I insisted it was looked into there and then and the director of football checked and told me that I had been removed. The only person who has the authority to do this is the chair and her husband. Again is this acceptable as it restricts me doing my job?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

It is unacceptable and amounts to bullying. If you find it intolerable to work there any longer because of the late payment of wages and being removed from the database management, and you feel that you have no option but to leave, as you have been there for more than 2 years, you can bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal for constructive dismissal.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
There are a couple of other things. Sorry for so many questions. My husband is also groundsman on the football pitches. He was given another contract of employment saying that he had to do groundsman duties exceeding no more than 300 hours annually. In return for this he doesn't receive payment but we don't pay any rent. We pay council tax and utility bills on a groundsmans cottage.This has also been for the last 5 years. He was also given a service occupancy tenancy. The house comes with the job. The contract again was for a year but has rolled on for 5 years. it is with a charity but it is the same chairwoman. She has stopped letting us know when there are matches or things going on, so is stopping us do our work. I have found out about stuff going on as we have built up good relationships with the users. But ultimately it is her job to inform us as she books the pitches. Where do we stand with this job if we can't do the work due to her not informing us about things we need to do it. Can she dismiss him if she is holding back information? I have kept records and sent emails as proof when she has done this.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

If they dismiss you for not doing the job as a result of her actions which resulted in the job not being able to be undertaken, then you have a claim for unfair dismissal

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
As he has been employed for 5 years, would she have to give him notice if she dismissed him.?Would we have to leave the house if we were claiming unfair dismissal? The occupiers service contract gives us 3 months to leave and the employment contract gives 1 months notice. Do these still stand even though they were initially for a year?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

She would have to go through the normal disciplinary procedure and give notice in writing and reasons. If there is no formal disciplinary procedure in any employees manual, then the procedure has to be reasonable. That would include giving him the opportunity to put right whatever is wrong.

The differential terms for giving notice are unfairly weighted in favour of the employer and if you were only given one months notice, could probably sue them for the other two months.

After the first year, the terms would roll over.

Can I clarify anything further for you?

Please rate the service positive. It doesn’t cost you anything but helps me greatly.

We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes.

FES

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for all your help. Things are a lot clearer now and I feel a weight has been lifted. I will most definitely rate the device positively . Last question, if he was dismissed what is the process we would need to go through to sue? Many thanks
Expert:  F E Smith replied 7 months ago.

It’s an employment tribunal claim. You have to bring it within three months of dismissal. One day late and it will get thrown out so, if either of you are dismissed, make sure that you get on that case straightaway.

F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8963
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
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Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thanks again for all your help.

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