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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 78650
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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May I have some questions regarding the legal rights between

Customer Question

Good evening, may I have some questions regarding the legal rights between a self employed person and the company for which they work on full time basis without any contract please?
I appreciate your answer in advance.
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.
Hello, I’m Ben, a solicitor, and it’s my pleasure to assist you. I may ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

I see you have already mentioned that you want to know about self-employed workers’ rights. Is there anything more specific that you would like to know about it? I also wanted to make you aware that this is not always an instant service, due to various legal engagements I could have and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your query and will get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Hello Ben, thank you for your reply. Please see the situation explained below.My friend currently works for a courier company called Silver Lining Couriers LTD in Luton. He has been here for more than 2 years. He works as a drivers mate,but this email is on behalf of other drivers mates and drivers as well. They would like to know if the way the company operates and the things they do to them are legal or they are just exploiting them. They are all working as self employed but they never signed any form of contracts or agreements with them. They are all doing multi drop deliveries as Silver Lining is a sub contractor for ArrowXL. Drivers mate rates are from 80£ to 90£ a day,drivers rates are 120-130£ a day. Sometimes they are required to work 12 to 15hours a day because the routes has to be finished at all costs,otherwise they do not get paid. They put up with this because this is what puts food on the table. But lately a couple of the drivers had accidents with the vans that are provided by the company. The firm said that the excess fee on the insurance is 2500£ and the drivers had to pay for it. They have asked for some documentation and proof that they are liable for the damages because all accidents happened during working hours while delivering. The company did not show any form of proper proof or documentation saying that the drivers are liable for the excess fee,all the managers are saying that because they are self employeds they have to pay for whatever they say. I am not sure it is legal.they are already paid for most of the costs but they would like to know what is the legal process for this and what they can do. The company also take money from them for damaged products even if they didn’t damage them. The company just tell them how much is going to be reducted from their next wages,the companydo not show any documentation or any proof they just say there is a debit note from ArrowXL and the crew has to pay for it. In the warehouse it is constant chaos,there is nothing organized and no camera system at all so the company has no idea of what is coming in or going out. The vans get unloaded every evening at the yard. A crew just received another debit note from february for 600£. 300£ each between the crew. The company say that 2 products went missing in February from the crews route and now they have to pay for them. Firstly,if 2 items went missing in February,ArrowXL would've let Silver Lining know in the next couple of days,not 5months later. It feels like a made up reason because again there is absolutely no proof of the crew taking the items and there is absolutely no proof of the claim towards the crew. If it is legal then basically they can do this to any of them anytime. The company already done this a few times to different crew members. The company say something went missing from their route and they charge them without any proof. if you say that you do not want to pay for it they do not give you work for days. The driver that has to pay 300£ now has done extra work for them in the past few weeks and it looks like they just dont want to pay that money for him by taking the 300£ off of him which is the roughly the same amount of his overtime.We would like to know what is the legal process for them to charge the workers because they charge them all the time for all kinds of things that are unproved and the explanation is that they are self employeds,that is it. They would like to step up and take this to court because the company are going too far in all aspects.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

Thank you very much for clarifying. So is there no written contract or any sort of policies in writing about any of this?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.
I may not be able to reply until tomorrow by the way, thanks for your patience
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Nothing has been signed at all, everything is just in words
It seems they can do what they want relying on self-employed status of the workers
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
of course, thank you for your time and have a nice evening
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, it is appreciated. I am now pleased to be able to provide further assistance with your query. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues brought up by this. It must be a frustrating situation to be going through.

Whether there is a contract in place, or anything in the contract that deals with this, if someone is liable for an accident then they would be responsible for covering the costs/losses incurred as a result of that. This is something which comes under the tort of negligence where a negligent party is responsible to compensate the parties who have suffered losses as a result of such negligence.

So if the drivers were at fault for the accident and that resulted in costs for the employer, they could be made liable anyway, even if the contract did not mention anything. It is only if the drivers were not at fault and the employer started charging them for costs that were not their fault, that is when they can potentially challenge them.

Same goes for the damaged products – these types of ‘fines’ should really be contained in a contract which they are aware of in advance and can make a decision whether they want to work for them on that basis.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

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 11 days ago.
Thank you for your reply.There is no contract in place. They are all self employed. There was no police at the scene of the accident and they are not even sure that the company claimed through insurance. The company just made the driver pay 2500£ for the damages as excess fee but the driver haven’t seen any documents that proves this. What sort of documents should they seek from them? We would like to know what it is that the company can do and what it is that the company can not as there is no contract and it seems like they can do whatever they like.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 days ago.

The company can do whatever they like, in a sense that they can withhold whatever amounts they want from their workers’ pay, especially as they are self-employed and do not have the better rights that an employee would get. So if the workers believe that the amounts the company is withholding are unfair or incorrect, the only thing they can do is make a claim to recover these in the Small Claims Court.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Hello Ben, thank you for reply.I’ve checked and I can see that it is an option and I found the court fee as well. But what if we lose on court, do we have to pay anything on top of the court fee?Also, you mentioned that these types of ‘fines’ should be in a contract which they are aware in advance. On the basis of lack of the contract, is it possible to take the company on court?As well as, the accident wasn’t the driver’s fault, as the company car’s brakes were faulty which was reported to the manger before the accident ( there is a screenshot of the conversation ) just the company hasn’t fixed it on time. After the accident the company still stating that the brakes were fine, but following the car service the driver has check it and can see the brakes are fixed or changed.Thank you for your help and we appreciate your time
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 days ago.

Whether the claimant will be liable for anything if they lose will depend on how much they are claiming to start with?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

For example, claims for under £10k will go to the Small Claims Court and apart from the court fees which they pay at the start, the losing party does not have to pay the winning party’s legal fees. However, for claims over £10k, the losing party could potentially be liable for some , or most of the winning party’s legal costs, on top of the initial court fees.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

I trust that everything has now been dealt with to your satisfaction and your original question has been resolved. If you have any further queries about it, please do not hesitate to get back to me on here. In the meantime, I wish you all the best.

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Hello Ben, so sorry for my late reply. Thank you so much for your help and time! Wish all the best and have a lovely evening!
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

My pleasure