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Hi,

I have a long & twisty tale concerning myself and 10 other ex employees, so please bear with me!

 

We were all employed by someone who said he was the owner of a company. 9 of the group got this job via an agency.

 

This man said he had funding from the Big Lottery and Learning skills and this was to be used to run his company. The company was to bring workshops to schools where children who had Learning Difficulties were and we were to have 6 weeks training to bring us up to the required standard.

 

Come the 1st pay day, no monies were paid into bank accounts.

The owner (will call him G) said it was because his bank had mucked up the BACS payments and because it was the banks fault, we would get double pay.( A warning sign should've been heeded right there!)

 

He then informed us that he had closed his account at that bank and had opened another business account at another bank.

He said he made CHAPS payments to everyone but nothing appeared in anyones bank account. Again, he stated the same thing by saying he had used CHAPS payments and even brought some printed off bank statement which had our names on there with the amount our wages were for.

 

By this time we had taken to phoning ACAS and getting their advice and we went along with what ACAS had advised.

 

We gave G a grievance letter, stating we wanted paying by a certain date.

We didn't receive any money on that date and asked for a grievance meeting.

It was at this grievance meeting that we were told by G that he had had a bar on his bank account and it was being lifted by that Friday and that's when he would pay us. We had resigned by that point!

 

We all opted for cash (it had been 6 weeks since we first started) and made arrangements to meet G for him to pay us.

 

I would also like to add that we had received no wage slips, no contracts (both of these items he said were at his solicitors) and when we asked for evidence for contracts to enable workshops at schools, he said he couldn't show us as that came under the Data Protection Act but willingly told us the schools he did have contracts with.

 

We did receive wage slips & our P45's (handwritten) on the Friday.

 

When we contacted the schools, none had heard of G nor his company. Neither had the Big Lottery funding either.

 

Come the Friday, we never got any money despite being in the bank. he couldn't access his account (there was 1 digit too many) and when we showed the branch manager the CHAPS payment print off, she said you couldn't do that from online banking (where he had said he had got it from).

We also had a copy of his bank statement, stating he had over £200,000 in it but again, the branch manager said this could not be printed off either and suggested we got to the police. She also informed us that this bank stopped opening business accounts at the end of Feb 2010 and yet he is saying he opened it at the end of March. She 'suggested' that these were fraudulent.

 

We went to the police and all they could do was listen & gave us a reference number.

 

We have gone through all steps ACAS gave us ( pre court conciliation etc)and have a date for an Employment Tribunal as no one has been paid.

 

We have also found out he has done this before and now has 2 new employees.He has always stated he has 44 employees (even on the response form to the ET) yet we never meet any.....

 

We have 27 pieces of evidence against him yet he is resisting the claim.

 

He has all our personal information, passport number, NI number, Birth certificate reg number etc an whilst he has been reported for this (ICO), all we are getting back is that he hasn't used it so therefore has done nothing wrong except 'employ' people when all he had was a make believe company and 2 of the people lost their homes because of the wages not being paid.

 

Only 3 of the group have found jobs since this happened (back in April) and we will have to face G at an Employment Tribunal because he is resisting our claim. His response to our claim was laughable. he said his house had been robbed and all his business software had been stolen so whilst he agreed to the time we stated we had worked there, he said he had no software to check this!

 

I think the groups concern is that the Employment tribunal, he will lie through his teeth about it and whilst we have evidence of him not paying us, we will have to go through the rigmarole of hearing it and knowing what he has put us through.

 

We have tried every avenue and resource to try and stop this man from doing this again but to no avail.

 

When the Employment Tribunal is through (and hopefully, we will get a judgement in our favour) are we entitled to see if the local newspaper will print a story about it( if they were interested)?:?:

 

It's just when you've experienced something like this, it affects all areas of your life and seeing as jobs are seeming to be thin on the ground, it just exacerbates the situation just that bit more.....it seems amazing that someone can state they are an employer, but aren't really, they can get away with it time after time....sorry for such a long 1st post...I've tried to be as concise as I can be....

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Hello and welcome to CAG. What a terrible story, I feel very sorry for all of you [except G of course].

 

I hope the police will do something about it.

 

As to the ET, it's not my area, but it sounds as if he's trying to bluff it out, which employers try to do once they realise they're in the mire, going by this forum.

 

Does your written evidence back up what you're saying? And is he self-representing? ET judges are said to be pretty shrewd and disinclined to put up with nonsense, so he could well make himself look very silly. :)

 

Just a thought, you could check the Companies' House website and see if the company are on it.

 

Also, I don't think you can stop the press publishing the story of an ET and that could be a way to make his evil ways more public.

 

I'm sure some other caggers will be along later to advise you more.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi and thanks for the warm welcome!

Yes, all the evidence we have backs up what happened...the branch manager of the bank gave us all her business card when she advised reporting the fake bank stuff....one of the group has gone back into the bank and was asked if they could testify ( words to that effect!) but they mentioned a court order was needed due to Data Protection.

There's nothing on the Companies House website...he gave a fake number for that as we checked both name and number...

 

It didn't state on his response form that anyone was representing him...we will be getting our bank statements to prove no money went in....I can imagine him making up some statement print off saying we all received our wages in cash...but seeing as he has no business account with bank that no longer does business accounts, that should (hopefully) fall to the wayside...

 

When he spoke to the ACAS rep when our claim was accepted, he told her he would be willing to pay our wages rather then go to ET....but then he puts in his response that he's resisting it ( all this happened after the alleged burglary).....

 

We have reported him to HMRC also, for stating he has paid NI & tax from the wages that we haven't received ...he is/has been investigated by so many organisations.....

 

We are planning on going to the local paper as we know deep down we will not see any money so just want it known locally not to take a job with this man!

Edited by Red Onion
Forgot something!
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This sounds a right old mess, and I am sorry you have been through it all.

 

Have any of the people who were employed through the agency spoken with them, firstly to warn them about what is happening and secondly to see if they have had their fee paid by 'G'.

 

CB500

Any advise that is given, is from my experience, either in life in general or from my years of senior management in the hospitality and leisure industries. However, please take legal advise before taking any actions.

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I think if there are papers you think should be provided, as in paperwork that would prove he paid you all, then you might be able to ask the ET to require him to produce it.

 

I believe there's usually a meeting before the actual tribunal and this kind of thing could be discussed then.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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It is a right old mess!

 

I only mentioned the agency in passing in my 1st post...they have washed their hands of this situation as they claim they are only an introduction agency (they do training etc as well) and when I made a complaint to them about G's company, they said that any acceptance/offer of employment was between the potential employer and employee....

 

Whilst that is understood, I put it to them that maybe they needed to check out the companies that are being introduced were legitimate and whilst a job offer can never be 100%, they would've done some very basic checks to verify the legitimacy of the company....but they wouldn't accept that when I made a complaint...all I ever got from them was 'sorry that your employment didn't work out' and an offer to find us all other employment, which was never followed through with....

 

I don't blame the agency for the company not actually existing but it would be helpful if they did some very basic (free) checks...

 

The agency is funded by the Social European Fund so the more names on their books releases more funding for the next year so our names will help them with their future funding....I have requested that Employment Agency Inspectorate Directorate investigate them....as agencies come under some other type of law rather than employment law....

 

Another thing that the group find difficult is whether to disclose this job to other potential employers?

 

I have told, in an interview, that the company disbanded and that's why I only worked there 6 weeks, the interviewer told me she didn't want to hear any more and have also told another potential employer (who runs her own business) that an ET is coming up....she was sympathetic....it can be difficult to gauge someone else's reaction to the situation....

 

All I can say is that I've learnt so much about areas of employment law!

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Just a thought. I thought I read on the forum that members of the public can attend an ET. If I'm right, another cagger suggested that one of our people went along to one, to see what it was like.

 

That should mean that the press would be able to attend........ And you see reports of ETs in the national press regularly.

 

As for the agency, I wouldn't give up, although they're in denial at the moment.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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That's a great suggestion HB!

I will be contacting the press regarding the ET and this man in question and will see if they want to take it up as a news item. Think that's the only way to expose on a larger extent to what he's doing .....

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I thought it wasn't a bad idea :). But I'd like someone to confirm I'm right and see BRB is hovering, so he may know. You can always ring the Employment Tribunals people and ask them about people being able to observe.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Sorry HB, I missed your post about G producing his papers to back up his claim...I am awaiting a callback from the ET to state whether the group has to share with him the evidence we have...if they haven't called by tomorrow, I shall call them....

 

I am not sure about a meeting before the actual tribunal...it hasn't stated that anywhere on the correspondence?...I did ask if our evidence was to be sent to the judge beforehand and was told no....I do know that our collective case will be held as one case as apart from everyone having their wage slips, P45's & bank statements, all the rest of the evidence is the same for us all...

 

I think we have 1 hour for our case (states this on the ET website) and I have a 7 page statement....

 

One thing I would like to know is how you address the judge?

I thought the 2 people that may be with the judge can be addresses as sir and ma'am?....I don't know about ET etiquette!:confused:

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Sorry Red Onion, this isn't my province, but I'm sure some of our gurus will know. I still think it's worth ringing the ET helpline or the office dealing with your case to ask this sort of thing. I believe the ET is not too formal, but good manners never go amiss, do they? I can see from your posts that this is how you deal with people.

 

I hope other caggers will be along soon to comment on the areas they have knowledge of.

 

My best, HB x

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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You've been very helpful & supportive HB ( as have the other posters!)...it kinda helps just to write it down and get others perspectives on it....

I just hope nerves don't get the better of me on that day and I end up call the judge by a different name!:o

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I'm sure you'll be fine, and you won't be alone will you? The thing is to prepare and to know your papers backwards, have them bookmarked etc. This will emerge as you go through the process.

 

Don't worry, HB x

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I think you'll be fine. Btw, the ET judges see a lot of self-representers and are often quite helpful to them. You would expect to have allowances made for you as you're not professionals.

 

And consider going along to observe an ET, assuming I'm right about this, so you'll know what to expect.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I have thought about going to observe an ET but not being in work, I haven't the spare funds to make the 45 mile round trip....

I agree with you and think I'll be fine but am very nervous!

 

I rang the ET up today and asked if anyone can come and sit in on the claim and she said yes....even the press I asked and she said yes, anyone....so will be writing to the local press and telling them when it is to see if they want to come along....will give them the story and fingers crossed, they will want to report it....

 

This whole situation has made me want to work somewhere that gives advice, like welfare rights etc as we don't get to know our rights until we find ourselves needing to know them!

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I would have thought that the agency would have taken some responsability for this as they should have "vetted" the company?

 

Can you not request that they appear at the tribunal? I know they might not bring anything but its worth a try

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Hi,

Employment agencies come under Employment Agencies Act 1973 and whilst I was quoted the regulations 17, 18 & 20 ( 17 deals with terms issued to hirers, 18 deal with information to be obtained from hirers & 20 deals with "detriment" issues and additional checks that have to be made), I was told by the agency that they are an introduction agency only and the legislation did not cover them as they also did training courses too

 

When I informed EASI ( Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate) of this, they said "Whether or not ******** is an employment agency is a legal question as the definition of what constitutes "employment agency" activity is set out in section 13(2) of the Employment Agencies Act 1973. This is a wide definition and covers many services that aim to find work for persons with employers. I would point out that ultimately it is for the Courts to determine whether or not the law applies".

 

I have made a complaint to the agency itself...and to EASI.....

 

I know the agency has not made adequate checks on whether the business was legitimate or not...I do know that the agency worker was new to the job, & went full pelt in trying to put people into employment & had heard of this 'employer' through a local newspaper article and approached him in asking if he wanted any employees .... this meeting took place just as the 'employer' had employed several other employees and didn't pay them....I can't go further into those details as that is being investigated too but by another organisation...

 

Like I said in my 1st post, there are many layers to this situation....:???:

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I hope its gets sorted and you get your money people like this need to be given jail term it seems that the system in thsi country protects the criminal and the decent folk get no support.

Good luck

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Just thought of something. Is there any possibility that the agency and this mr G are working hand in hand. Perhaps to make the agency's books look good.

 

Call me stupid but I can't see how G benefits from taking on employes and then not having any work for them or the lottery funding he claims to have

HALIFAX: 13/01/07 Sent S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) letter (marked as rec'd 16/01)

Paid in full in March 07

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You'd think there would be some law or legality to prevent this happening...it has been reported to the police but G hasn't (yet) overstepped that line...if he had taken just 1 penny from us, it would have been looked upon as criminal...his motives are unclear...plenty of theories mind you!

 

Dj...when all this was happening, we did think there was something going on with g and the agency....we did think the agency rep and g were in cahoots for the reason you stated....

 

I agree with you on not seeing how G benefits from taking on employees whilst not having a business....nor by telling people (police included) that he is funded by the Big Lottery....it's almost akin to when you were a small child and played shops or schools....it's just make believe except he's upsetting peoples lives by putting people into debt by saying they have a job with his company.....

 

A few of the people he 'employed' were eligible for funding from the goverment...the £1,000 they give to employers for employing someone who has been on JSA for a certain amount of time....from emailing the people who deal with that, it seems the employer gets £500 after 6 months and the rest after 12 months of employment....but one of my former co workers said they saw the paperwork which g got money for doing that....I wasn't one of those people who filled out that paperwork so apart from the email I received from the department who deals with that, I have no idea if g did get it or not...

 

We did manage to get g banned from advertising his company in the job centre...whether that be through an agency (as it was when the present unpaid staff 'got' the job) or himself trying to advertise....we've also been in contact with other agencies too, warning them about there actually being no business....

 

Sorry, going off on one here!

As I said before, I agree with you on seeing what g gets from all of this....he still walks round the town centre with his uniform shirt on....it's just very, very bizarre indeed....and believe me, the people who were 'employed' by him are not stupid people but somehow, he managed to bamboozle us for a short period of time....it left us feeling stupid and that's why we've done everything to adhere to the employment laws for this situation so at least we can get some justification for this situation.....

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Could BBC's Watchdog programme be of any help. Maybe they might be able to get some answers

HALIFAX: 13/01/07 Sent S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) letter (marked as rec'd 16/01)

Paid in full in March 07

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It's something we are considering...employment is a very hot topic at the moment because of the economic climate and if there is someone going around, posing as an employer, there must be someone willing to investigate what this man is doing and at least more people will know not to accept any of his job offers...

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