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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 70847
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I’m looking for some advice please .I started to work with

Customer Question

Hi I’m looking for some advice please .I started to work with an employer and I was still on my 12week probation when I had an incident involving the company vehicle which I take full responsibility for.Then the following week I was informed that the company was paying off due to work load for which I was one one of the employees.When I received my last pay the withheld the money for the van .I asked about this to be told that on my first day I signed a document which states that if I have an incident I would be held liable for the excess .I cannot Remember this being there .So my mum called up and asked for these documents to be produced this was on 6th October to which we still have not received them.My mum went to the office today and asked for them to be printed of to be told that they didn’t have the time to be doing this and was told to have a nice day .
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: No
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: Employee
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Yes .I am not saying that this wasn’t in with the papers I signed on my first day but I honestly can’t remember.
Submitted: 9 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

I am sorry to learn of the situation you are in. Can I just check, how much have they deducted?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Is it possible to call you as I am not very good with technology.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

and what is your specific question in relation to this so that I can best advise?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Just a quick clarification on phone calls – the pop-up offering you the chance to request one is automatic and I have no control over it. Therefore, if you request a call back there is no guarantee that I, or anyone else, would be available to fulfill it. At present, due to outside commitments, I cannot take calls but your request is open and visible to all other experts. If someone is available, they will accept it and call you, but if no one is free, then it will remain open until it is accepted or you decide to cancel it. In the meantime, you have already paid for a written response and that is the part I will continue helping you with.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Ok. The company deducted £680.47 in wages, which £180.47 was for tools, the other £500 was for the excess on the company vehicle. The question is, why haven’t the company provided the requested information regarding the contract I have signed to say that I am liable for any incidents involving company vehicles. I have been in contact with them once on the phone (06/10/20) and was told the documentation would be sent in the post. It has now been 10 days since and I haven’t received anything. I went along to the office today in person and was told that they were too busy to provide me with the documentation at that time. I
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now; I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.

The employer’s actions could amount to an unlawful deduction of wages, which is dealt with under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Deductions of wages occur when an employer either makes actual deductions from an employee’s pay, or they stop their pay altogether. Under law, an employer can only do these in the following circumstances:

- If it is legally allowed (e.g. to deduct tax)

- If it is to recover an earlier overpayment of wages made by the employer (no prior consent is needed, but at the same time they should discuss how this may affect the employee, considering any outgoings they have to meet)

- If the contract specifically allows for the deductions to be made

- If the employee has given their explicit written consent, such as in a separate written agreement

If you are unsure of whether such a document was signed, you have the right to request a copy of it by making a subject access request.

Wherever someone holds personal data about an individual, that person can request access to such data. This is a legal right they have under Section 45 of the Data Protection Act 2018 and is known as a ‘subject access request’ (SAR). For information to be personal data, it must relate to a living individual and allow that individual to be identified from it. The relevant legal reference is here:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/12/section/45/enacted

If an SAR needs to be made, the individual should write to the organisation which holds the data in question. It would be useful to check if there is a dedicated data protection officer to whom such requests need to be addressed. If not, it can be sent to their general correspondence address. The letter should include the following information:

{C}· Make it clear that a 'data subject access request under Section 45 of the Data Protection Act 2018’ is being made

{C}· Provide details of the data of which copies are requested, together with any information necessary to locate it

{C}· The individual’s main personal details - full name, address and contact number

{C}· Any additional information they may need to identify you, such as account or reference numbers

{C}· Remind them that they have a month within which to comply with your request

They cannot charge a fee for complying with the request, although they can charge a ‘reasonable fee’ when a request is manifestly unfounded or excessive, particularly if it is repetitive.

Further tips on how to structure a request can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website using the following link:

https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/your-right-to-get-copies-of-your-data/preparing-and-submitting-your-subject-access-request/

If the document is not provided, suggesting it does not exist and therefore none of the above exemptions apply, the deductions will most likely be treated as being unlawful. To take the matter further, the employer should be contacted in writing, advised that their actions are treated as unlawful deduction from wages and/or breach of contract and request that they repay the amount in question within 7 days. State that if they fail to do so, legal proceedings could follow to recover what has been unlawfully deducted.

If the employer does not return the money as requested, the following options are available to take things further:

1. Employment Tribunal - the time limit to claim is only 3 months from the date the last of the deductions were made. Before making the claim, ACAS must be engaged to negotiate with the employer and try to resolve this without the need for legal action. The next steps to initiate this procedure are to contact them, either online by filling in the following form (https://tell.acas.org.uk/find-a-solution-to-your-employment-dispute), or by phone on 0300(###) ###-####

2. County Court – this is an alternative way to claim and the advantage is that the time limit is a much longer 6 years. It is therefore a useful alternative if the 3-month deadline for the Employment Tribunal has been missed. Also, there is no need to negotiate before starting a claim and the claim can also be made online by going to: https://www.gov.uk/make-money-claim.

Ideally, by warning the employer that their actions are unlawful and that legal action is considered, they will be prompted to try and resolve this and return the money with the need to take things further.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thank you very much for your help. Do you think it would be appropriate to call the employer now and tell them about the section 45 act etc and see what they say?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

You certainly can, you may as well remind them of what their obligations are

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Once again thank you very much
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

My pleasure