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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49809
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been pressured to build the technology behind a start-up

Customer Question

I have been pressured to build the technology behind a start-up for my current companies CTO and CEO with no pay, but a promise of possibly 12k in a year or two.
I have dedicated 4 months of hard work during the evenings and weekends into this project but have been asked to keep it a secret from everyone.They plan to sell this back to the company they run for profit.
My normal work is suffering due to tiredness, last year I used up my remaining 15 days holiday, and this year I have been allowed to do sickies in-order to deliver.
I can cannot continue at this capacity as they are taking advantage of me.
The CTO during my interview also stated to complete a major project during my notice period prior to joining and indicated payment, which I had completed with success and is in constant use. But when requesting payment they have said it is not possible to pay for this but instead take a holiday.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My entire weekends, and evenings are utilised communicating with one of their partners, I commence work at 6-pm and stop at 2-am every day. I have already delivered a few draft versions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
All communication is documented in an email trail.I believe what they are trying to is illegal.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
(Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I felt obligated to work on this due to the bosses of my company requesting it. I remained fair-full of job-loss and possible job demotions if failed to oblige.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The fact this is to be kept a secret from all other software engineers,directors,my line manager. Proves an illegal aspect.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry I forgot to mention, the start-up is unrelated to the current business and exists as a separate entity. They have formed a separate company and will then sell the tech back to the main company at 0.30p per call, which could equate to 1000 to 5000 calls per day.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am currently towards the end of a three day break due to de-motivation and lack of energy due to amount of work over the past 4 months; essentially 80-hrs per week.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Note: this is a 100m revenue company and they have no problem paying contractors 600 to 800 per day. The skills I have provided to them are extraordinary such as machine learning, solr,nlp and search which commands no less than 600 to 800 per day. Yet they have abused their authority in order to achieve this at no cost.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I essentially do not want to work for this company from the 1st of March unless they pay for all work to-date.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for and what do you believe you are due for this work?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I expect the company to reimburse for the loss of 15 days of holiday.Payment for four weeks worked during my notice period at a contract rate of 450 p/dPlus 4 months of work at 450 p/d.Which equates to £36,000. Inclusive of holiday reimbursement.450 p/d is at the lower end of the scale.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
How long have you worked there for and are you an employee or self employed?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry,I have employed for a period of 12 months and am an employee.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. I have to say that the claim you are making is highly unrealistic, despite the fact you may feel that you are due this. I have to advise from a legal point of view whereas your perspective will be affected by personal and emotional factors. First of all your length of service would not allow you to make a claim such as for constructive dismissal (where you are forced to resign due to the employer’s unreasonable behaviour). That is because you need 2 years’ service to do so, which you do not have. You wish to make a claim for all this time charged at a contractor’s rate. That will be unlikely because in this case you were specifically promised an amount for doing this work, in the region of £12k. The fact that you had to take holiday to do this does not mean that they are liable for reimbursing you for it. How and when you did the work is down to you if you felt the need to take holidays then you do so at your own behest and any losses would be covered by the total payment they had promised. The notice period – you will have to be prepared to work through that to be paid for it and then it will only be at your current rate of pay, not a contractor’s. You can refuse to do any extra work during that period and just do your normal job – they will have to pay you for this time and if they do not want you continuing there as a result then they must pau you the equivalent but it will be at your contracted rate as an employee, not a rate you have decided to set. Finally the 4 months of work at a contractors’ rate – again you cannot just claim that – you were promised a specific amount, you undertook the work based on that agreement so you cannot then go and charge a higher rate because you feel aggrieved. In the circumstances you are only realistically looking at claiming the £12k you were promised. I can discuss the steps you need to take to do that if you want make to and leave your rating. I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi,My notice period relates to my previous role prior to joining my current role whereby a payment had been promised during my interview; in which case I expect £4128.I feel as though I cannot continue to work for them in this capacity.Unacceptable offer attached below: Which may not be forthcoming based on passed experience (ie: working during the previous companies notice)Option 1 – Equity and Incomei) Developer will be awarded 5% equity when *****.com has a turnover in excess ofii)£50,000pa.These will be equivalent of B-Shares and have voting rights and cannot be sold withoutagreement of other shareholders.ii) Developer will be paid 5% of Net Income associated with specific ****.comactivity. i.e if £100,000 is generated in in one calendar year via *****.comremuneration would be £5000.iii) Income capped at £12,500 in one calendar year and a total of £25,000.Due to worry of ongoing exploitation I cannot continue to work for them; I believe they have abused their authority for personal gain.What can I do?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Can you explain the circumstances regarding this please? What were the two roles and how were they remunerated?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Its normal to resign an existing job, hand-in notice following an interview and then commence work in a new job. So when I resigned my previous job following an interview, my prospective job requested I work during the standard 4 week notice period which commenced following resignation.Company B has offered a position, I then resign Company A but Company B requires I work in my notice period which is now in force in company A.No two roles in parallel exist.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Also the arrangement is illegal whereby the companies directors are accumulating wealth from our parent company by creating alternate companies and selling services back to the main company. Akin to back-handers, kick backs etc.