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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50202
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I had a verbal agreement with shell that as I had taken over

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I had a verbal agreement with shell that as I had taken over the roles and responsibilities of second position (person) that I would be paid an extra 3 hours per day. This extra incumbent of pay occurred for approximately 3 years which had to be sanction by Shell each year. Then at the beginning of the year (2016) when I submitted my time sheet incorporating the extra 3 hours a day I was informed that I was only entitled to 2 hours a day and I had been paid the extra by mistake. When I reminded Shell of this verbal contract the denied it happened. Then I informed Shell that I have all the pay statements which show that Shell had been paying the as agreed 3 hours a day as per the verbal agreement the dialog ended. Have I got a leg to stand on, or can Shell do this?

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Are they asking you to repay the amount they claim to have overpaid you by or re they just stopping future payments at this rate?

Hello, not sure if you saw my initial query above - Are they asking you to repay the amount they claim to have overpaid you by or re they just stopping future payments at this rate?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No Ben, they are not asking to repay the money they are saying that the verbal contract never existed. Let me expand on the initial information given:
I work offshore on one of Shell’s North Sea Platforms (Brent Alpha). The department I work in consisted of 2 persons; Inspection Engineer & Non Destruction Testing Technician. Shell in discussion with my parent company BIS ltd decided as a money saving exercise that the inspection Engineer would take over both roles on the understanding that an extra increment of 3 hours over time would be given per day for time spent on the platform.
Each month I submit a monthly timesheet giving the hours I have worked which would include the extra 3 hours per day. At the beginning of 2016 BIS loss the contract to CAN ltd. At the end of January 2016. My overtime was reduced from 3 hours per day to 2 hours per day without discussion or warning, but when queried this I was informed that Shell had never agreed to the 3 hours overtime. When I explained that not only did this verbal contract exist my 3 years of pay statements clearly show that I had been paid this additional 3 hours overtime per day. All dialog ceased at this point.

Thank you. A verbal agreement can be just as legally binding as a written one. The only issue there is that in the absence of any written evidence it can just become one person’s word against another’s. It does mean that there would then be no guarantee that the party who is actually in the right will succeed in applying their rights.

What you have working in your favour is the fact that following these discussions you claimed for the 3 hours for 3 years and this was not challenged and was paid without protest. Whilst that does not guarantee that the discussions took place as claimed (after all the payments could have been made in error and it is not uncommon for employees to be paid incorrectly for years before it is realised), it does provide some evidence which is more than what the employer may be able to show.

So you do have rights to take this further if needed and you do have evidence which will support you case, it is just that this was as a result of a verbal agreement which means there will always be risks that a court may not find in your favour due to the lack of concrete evidence.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you can follow to take this matter further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you

Hello, do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the above response? Look forward to hearing from you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ben to expand & summaries.
The contract that all inspection personnel sign is that no overtime will be given without the express approval of Shell. These overtime hours cannot exceed more than 2 hours per day. All overtime must be reviewed before approved by Shell. In fact all employees on Shell platforms cannot exceed more than 2 hours overtime per day. If overtime is require due to the; scope of work, required manning levels, limited time frame to carry out the task, then a request to Shell for this overtime must be made. Each request for overtime must be justified & reviewed by Shell on a case by case on a day by day basis. For Shell to let this slip for 3 years would be the mother of all cock ups & would almost been impossible as a Shell representative has to sign the time sheet indicating the hours worked including any overtime.On a few occasions Shell have refused other departments request for overtime, even though that department’s personnel have worked the 2 hours overtime. This is because the department never sought permission prior to the task been undertaken & only assumed Shell would authorise afterwards. Shell are stringent.
Just to expand, for 3 years, not just myself but 2 other colleges who also worked on the Brent Alpha in this position (within a work rotation) also received this 3 hours overtime increment.
Shell is not a small Mickey Mouse business, every penny is scrutinised.The information that you have imparted I am already aware of. I have been informed that I can take it to an arbitration tribunal where on the information given and my evidence I will be in a good position to get the overtime owned. What I’m trying to establish & without sounding greedy is the recourse in the breach of contract. Could I prosecute, or should I be happy that I’m just going to get the money I’m owed.
The other concern is this litigation is going to ruffle some feathers within Shell & probably my parent company.

There is nothing stopping you from suing but at the same time no one can guarantee what the outcome would be. As mentioned there will always be an inherent risk due t the lack of evidence and this being your word against theirs. So this is about risk management – you have to consider what the potential repercussions of you taking legal action are against what you are hoping to get in return. For example, they could consider terminating your employment and blacklisting you from their industry as far as their influence stretches. That is morally wrong but not illegal. It is not unlawful to blacklist someone just because they have taken legal action against a company. So that is why I mean that you are entirely within you rights to make a claim and try to pursue what was genuinely agreed, but often it is not as simple as that and there are many other factors at play which must be considered in the overall picture. Does this clarify?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This clarifies my position & options and gives me food for thought. Thank you.

You are welcome, best of luck.

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