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Ed Turner
Ed Turner,
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 2630
Experience:  Director and Consultant Solicitor (Self-Employed) at Ed Turner LLB Limited
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I worke for a large company on a project that is shortly

Customer Question

Hi I worke for a large company on a project that is shortly finishing. It was compulsary to take a lone worker safety device in October 2021. In Feb 2022 they sent a contract to sign to say if we lost it or it was stolen we would have to £100 to replace. If we didnt sign we could no longer work on the project. On Friday we have now been TOLD that £100 will be taken as a deposit in case we dont return it from our pay on 18.05.22 so thats 12 days notice with no prior consultation or option to cease working before this came in
JA: Is this an hourly or salaried position? How many hours each week?
Customer: Day rate pay zero hours although it is PAYE not self employed
JA: Where are you located? Wage-and-hour laws vary by location.
Customer: London
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No. But I would like to know the cost of this service before I commit
Submitted: 16 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ed Turner replied 16 days ago.

Hello. I am Ed, a Solicitor qualified in England and Wales with over a decade’s experience in the legal profession advising clients.

I specialise in Commercial Contracts, Business Transactions, Employment, Dispute Resolution, Personal Injury and Road Traffic Law and shall be reviewing your legal problem today.

Regarding the site’s automatic offer of a Premium Service Phone Call, I shall be delighted to talk with you by phone to discuss your issue in greater detail if you accept the offer.

Expert:  Ed Turner replied 16 days ago.

I am sorry that you are facing a potential dispute with your employer over the costs of lost/damaged equipment but hopefully I can assist you in resolving the matter before it escalates and you are forced to incur significant further legal costs.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Hi Ed, just reply by message please its not convenient to talk
Expert:  Ed Turner replied 16 days ago.

If the Employee has caused the Employer loss through an act committed in the course of their Employment, then they are potentially liable in damages for breach of contract or negligence (tort) for any loss caused to the Employer or an affected third party, such as the owner of the land or property where the act was committed and who has also sustained loss through the Employee’s actions i.e., damage to property. However, it may be a defence to an allegation of gross misconduct or incapability that provides a potentially fair reason for the Employer to dismiss the Employee if the Employee can show that they were acting reasonably and under the Employer’s express instructions.

The outcome of the case (as with all Employment Tribunal and Civil Court disputes) will turn on its own facts and the Judge will decide the outcome. The Employee will say that they were acting legally and on their Employer’s instructions, that they interpreted those instructions reasonably and indeed reverted to the Employer for further clarification and encouraged the Employer to have “second thoughts”. On the other hand, the Employer will argue that the Employee’s actions were so negligent and reckless that the particular Employer (and indeed any employer in their right mind) would never have issued such an instruction and therefore the Employee either misunderstood the instruction or “went off on a frolic of their own” and committed the act of their own accord without the knowledge or consent of the Employer.

Furthermore, it is not a defence for an Employee to argue that they were “only following orders” in acting on their Employer’s instructions. The Tribunal or the Court will examine the substance of the act itself and “look behind” the Employer’s instructions in determining whether the Employee acted in Breach of their Contract of Employment and other obligations towards the Employer, as well as any third party, such as the owner of the damaged property.

It is quite possible from a legal point of view for an Employer to sue an Employee for losses caused by the Employee during their employment if the Employee acted negligently and/or in breach of their Contract of Employment. However, such action is relatively rare as the Employer will have insurance in place to cover these types of losses and there is no need to pursue the Employee directly.

Expert:  Ed Turner replied 16 days ago.

I hope this is a satisfactory initial reply to your question and you understand my recommendations. Please revert to me if you do not understand anything and require clarification of my answer and I shall be delighted to assist.

I can also offer a Premium Service Consultation for an additional fee if you need detailed and bespoke legal advice. If you accept, I will pass you my direct email address and phone number. I can review any relevant documentation and consult with you by telephone for around 20 minutes. This will give you a clearer picture of your legal position and your potential options for progressing the matter to the next stage.

Kind regards

LawyerEd

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Hi Ed please respond by messge it is not possoble to talk
Expert:  Ed Turner replied 16 days ago.

Please see my main answer above.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
If th
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Sorry that seemed to delay coming through in between offer messages
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
There is no loss. The device has not been lost
Expert:  Ed Turner replied 16 days ago.

If you have not agree to this term, then they cannot claim the amount.   If the project is ending soon in any event, I suggest you leave before the employer attempts to impose this term.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
They are doing this as they antivipate some workers MAY have lost the device and will not pay the fee. Sorry if my original message was unclear.Oct 2021 device issued (18 minths into project(NO ACCOMPANYING CONTRACT)FEB 2022 CONTRACT ISSUED TO STATE IF LOST OR STOLEN £100 DUE.signing was compulsary to continue on projectMAY 2022 DEVICE NOT LOST STILL IN USE, PROJECT RUNNING UNTIL 30.06.22. email sent stating they are witholding £100 from everyone in next pay run AS A PRECAUTION
Expert:  Ed Turner replied 16 days ago.

The term should have been imposed at the start of the contract.   The employer cannot attempt to impose it now.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Thank you Ed, very helpful!
Expert:  Ed Turner replied 16 days ago.

Thank you for the positive feedback.   I am delighted that you are satisfied with my reply.    I wish you all the very best in resolving this matter.

Kind regards

LawyerEd