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Everything posted by Alexbabwa

  1. I will get the defence shortly. I planned on including Google's own documentation (or a quote from which) to clarify what the definitions are. Yes, any web developer or programmer could see it at the top of the document. It was not hidden, quite the opposite.
  2. Thank you Andy, solid information. I can relax a little knowing I don't need to take further action at this stage. You seem sure I only need myself as a witness. 1) I wonder why you are so sure. Would I not benefit from a witness? 2) I imagine I will still need to tick Yes for the witness question and then give my own details. abe - I am not part of any professional body.
  3. Sorry for the delayed response both, I appreciate you taking an interest. The deadline to respond was 26th march. My ex-employer did not give me any warning or notice that they were going to file a claim. The last email I had from them accused me of delaying help by two days to extend the time they were de-indexed by Google, thus costing them money and the bonuses of the sales team. As I hadn't been employed by them for a month I thought they should have been grateful I helped them at all, but I don't know how a judge would see it. I have submitted by defence, it was long and I used two analogies. I got so worked up emotionally I just wanted it to be over one way or another. On Friday I got a response from the court that it would go to the small claims track. I have to send the directions questionnaire back. There are two questions of concern. 1) Expert witness - I can not afford one, and I am concerned my ex-employer will contact every 'expert' in the city until they find someone willing to say what they want them to. Nothing I can do about that I suppose. 2) Witnesses - The question is written in a way that implies the only valid witness is one who would show up in court. I have a witness statement emailed to me by the web hosts forced to break away from my ex-employer, but I doubt they could be at the hearing. My employer could also put any/all of their employees on the stand and have them say anything they want. 3) Intermediary - I have been advised it looks bad if I do not show that I am willing to try and settle this out of court. But I am not willing to pay anything for their mistake, made against my advise. Still, better to go along with it and just politely reject any offer for a reduced claim. 4) There were no other forms or instructions. I thought at this stage I had to send over my full defence and written statements etc.
  4. Here is the first draft of my defence to submit with the defence form. I would appreciate your opinions. I deny and refute all allegations in the particulars of this claim. I deny that I did not inform my previous employer to the existence of No Follow tags. I ask that this claim be struck out for the following reasons - I was in direct control of the claimant as an employee - The claimant has given no indication or evidence as to how they have come to a £8,930 loss - The claimant alleges I did not inform them of NoIndex tags and is aware I have evidence to the contrary - This claim is ill thought out and vexatious Furthermore, their staff member 'Kiren' informed me that the reason they ignored my advice and attempted to move the website on their own, was because their business relationship had broken down with their previous web host and developers, and were given a 7 day deadline to leave before they were cut off.
  5. Hello Andy, What I am suggesting is, the small claims track is for claiming money owed, and that the employer has selected the wrong course. If employees are protected under the Employment Act from being sued by their employers for mere negligence or other things, how can that be overruled by a county court claim that a judge has yet to see. If I am way off beat please tell me and I will abandon this approach. it seems that if employees are protected, this nonsense claim should not stand. I need to figure out if it is worth making part of my defence, that I was an employee at the time and afforded the protections of the Employment Act irrespective of who is at fault. Alex
  6. Hello everyone, In the last couple of days I have done some research, approached people willing to give witness statements and worked on my defence. It turns out no less than 3 contractors broke off business relationships with the employer in the space of a month, due to their abusive behaviour. If I am correct, in cases of negligence (or alleged negligence in this circumstance) an employer is not able to sue an employee due to rules set out in the Employment Act. Does anybody know if this is strictly true? Since this should be the whole of my defence if it is and I could request the case gets struck out. I have been Googling to find the specific clause in the Employment Act that prevents most employers from suing their employees, but have come up empty.
  7. Outstanding insight. They have a lawyer they contact almost daily (they are always sending threatening letters to someone). There must be a reason they have not used him this time. Good food for thought. I have been on the phone to Hiscox insurance. I have professional indemnity insurance from 12th January. Unfortunately the time I was employed by them was in December a month earlier, so I imagine I will not be covered.
  8. I did not expect so many responses and so quickly. Again thank you. Webmaster Highlighting how I did the right thing requires knowledge of web development and so it is a struggle to simplify it for a judge, but I shall keep trying. I was indeed an employee and can prove it with my wage slip. I will likely have an email someone with an offer of employment and/or contract. Great points! I will make a note of them for my witness statement later. They barely had any online sales, that is why they employed me. Is the duty on them to prove loss of revenue? They responded to my email to request further clarification on a few things. That would strongly imply that they read the document otherwise how else would they know to ask for more information. They also replied with my message in the email chain. Andy Thank you. I will deny in the first instance. Unfortunately they haven't made it very clear what they are alleging. I didn't inform the new web host because it is nothing to do with them, but I don't deny it. And so by not denying it I may appear guilty to a judge that doesn't understand the role of a web host. King It is close but not quite accurate. I have made a note of your list and will work tonight to create a suitable explanation for the non developers. BankFodder I was indeed employed. I was the only web developer and IT person there. They contracted out the role previously. There was a sales girl with a degree in computer science, but she couldn't work out how to set up her own email. The below might be important, but it is not something the claimant has taken issue with in the particulars While I was an employee at the time the NoIndex tags were put on the test website, the former employer contacted/harassed me after I left asking/expecting help. I wasn't feeling vindictive so I agreed to take a look. I saw they left the tags on and told them I have removed them. They came back to me some time later accusing me of delaying the fix by two days to hurt their business. Honestly I don't know if it did take me two days or if Google needed time to re-crawl their website etc. All I know is I was doing them a favour and felt no obligation to actually help them. Had I wanted to hurt their business I simply needed to take no action. My concern is that while they solicited my help by email and phone, I was not an employee or contractor when I fixed the problem they created. Perhaps this would open me up to a world of hurt in court?
  9. Thank you both for your replies. Firstly, I don't know if it is relevant or worth saying in court, but I did do my job right. It is best practice to have NoIndex tags on a test website so that it doesn't take away from your real site. They are the ones who didn't do their job right when they migrated their website in a rush. 'NoIndex' and 'do not follow' refer to the same thing. The claimant actually means NoIndex which is a different thing to do not follow. Defence: I advised my then employer that the website would break if we moved it and that we needed their previous web developers and designers to rewrite the plug-in, to be compatible with the new server. The website had not been moved when I left because it would have been irresponsible and premature to do so. I have evidence in the form of an email and a Microsoft Word document that I did in fact, inform my then employer, that there are NoIndex tags on the website. Do not follow is something different and has no bearing on Google rankings. I did not inform the web host because they are web hosts. Typically they do not act as your web developer or marketer and I left clear instructions my former employer should have a professional migrate the website. I don't actually have enough space to write that on the claim form. Hopefully that was clear. Would this amount to my whole defence? or would I have an opportunity to speak for myself in court.
  10. Hello CAG community, Today I received a Count Court Claim from my ex employer for just over £9,000 (including £410 court fee). I have 12 days to decide if I am going to respond with acknowledgement, to apply for 28 days to build my case, or respond with a defence. The space they give you to write a defence is very insufficient. I imagine I could write more online. I can not afford a lawyer and will most likely have to represent myself. The court has an NN postcode and is not close to where I live in the West Midlands. The story: I accepted a job from an e-commerce employer as a digital marketer with an SEO focus. The directors had an obvious problem with anger. Ultimately I left after one month as the work environment was very hostile (though I cannot prove that). When I quit I could tell they were surprised and further angered. They acted like they were firing me and that was just fine. During my brief employment I made them aware that their web host had them on an insufficient plan and was hosted using a reseller account in the Netherlands. This infuriated them and they had me gather evidence in preparation for a law suit. They also told me on a daily basis to call them with the intention of harassing them in to migrating us to another web host for free. Eventually I told them I would not do this anymore. After I left the directors had to deal with the web hosting company themselves and I learned from one of the sales girls calling for help, that the web hosts had told the directors their website would be cut off shortly. It appeared they panicked and tried to migrate the website themselves. They have no web development experience what so ever. I would not even call them IT literate. Consequently they disappeared from the Google search results and acted like all was forgotten while they asked for my help. I obliged and didn't feel the need to let them hang themselves. Rather than migrate the website, they just pointed their web address to a test version of the site. Because it was a test version special code was put in there to hide it from Google (it is bad to have two identical copies of a website visible). I left a document advising the next digital marketer they hire what the situation is, "Be wary of duplicate content. Ensure NoIndex tags are maintained on every page during development. Check testbcr.co.uk is not being indexed. If it is then assess impact and take" 'NoIndex' refers to those special tags I mentioned. Any qualified developer who is aware there are NoIndex tags present on a test site, would know to remove them if they ever planned to make the website live. The problem is the Directors who are sales/business people, tried moving the website themselves because they couldn't get a contractor to work with them. They clearly didn't read the document I left or didn't understand the NoIndex reference. If you have made it this far then thank you, sincerely, for investing in my situation. I am exhausted just writing it. So the allegations they are making are that I didn't inform the company or the web host that I had left NoIndex tags on the test website. My defence, it has nothing to do with the web host and I have evidence that I informed them of the NoIndex tags. They also allege that I delayed fixing the problem (after I left their employment) by two days. Honestly I don't know how long it took me. I wasn't employed by them and so didn't feel obligated in any case. I could never afford the claim and court's costs should I lose in court. My credit rating would be destroyed and me and the wife would have to give up on the idea of having our own house one day. If there is a worse scenario I am not aware of it. Prison? I feel like this shouldn't even go to court considering how far in the wrong they are. But I am honestly scared we live in a country with a justice system that favours the rich and wealthy.
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