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£20k compensation after firm fails to pay employee for two months

£20k compensation after firm fails to pay employee for two months

Thursday 10 March 2022

£20k compensation after firm fails to pay employee for two months

Thursday 10 March 2022

A family office, which failed to pay a former administrative assistant for two months has been ordered to pay her more than £20,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal and breach of contract.

The Employment and Discrimination Tribunal heard that “from the start” of her employment with Fortem Limited as an Administrative Assistant in 2018, Cristina Rocque was “often paid late”.

At first, this was “a few days” or “up to a week”, but, by 2019, the “situation deteriorated and she was only paid for November 2019 around 24 December 2019.” 

In 2021, she received a letter indicating that she would be getting a pay rise due to an expansion in role and taking on greater responsibility, and was told that “any shortfall in payroll to date will be corrected over the coming months.”  

However, she was never paid the increase in salary.  

The pattern of late payment continued throughout the year, culminating in her failing to be paid at all for November or December 2021.

She resigned in January 2022 with immediate effect as a result.

Having considered the case during a hearing last week, Employment Tribunal Chair Dr Elena Moran concluded that the “failure of Fortem Limited to pay Miss Roque her salary on time or from November 2021 at all was a fundamental breach of contract.”

She added in her judgment that she also accepted that Miss Rocque “resigned in response to the fundamental breach so her claim for constructive unfair dismissal is upheld.”

Having worked at Fortem Limited for over three years, Dr Moran found that she was entitled to compensation of 16 weeks’ gross pay, equating to £11,384.61. She was also awarded damages for breach of contract totalling £9,995.09.

Dr Moran noted in her judgment that Miss Rocque would be entitled to claim more – such as an unpaid pay rise from January 2021 to 31 October 2021 – but that the Tribunal was only able to award damages of up to £10,000 per annum.  

Miss Rocque withdrew her Employment Tribunal claim for this, as well as unpaid expenses and an unpaid bonus of £3,300, telling the Tribunal she would now pursue these through the Petty Debts Court.

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