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Café business to pay £20k damages to ex-worker denied parental pay

Café business to pay £20k damages to ex-worker denied parental pay

Friday 19 August 2022

Café business to pay £20k damages to ex-worker denied parental pay

Friday 19 August 2022


A café business has been ordered to pay a former employee nearly £20,000 in compensation for unfairly and wrongly sacking him, and failing to pay parental leave entitlement.

Antonio Vieira presented his claims against Design Food Ltd on 30 June, leaving the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal with “little doubt” he had “satisfied the burden of proof”.

Advocate Ian Jones, Deputy Chair, subsequently ordered that he be paid £9,945 for unfair dismissal, £5,100 – equivalent to 10 weeks' wages – for wrongful dismissal, and £3,060 for failing to pay parental leave entitlement.

For failing to provide itemised pay statements and written terms of employment, Design Food Ltd was ordered to pay a further weeks' salary in respect of each breach, together totalling £1,020.

Mr Vieira will also receive £525 in unpaid holiday pay "on the basis that the Claimant worked the equivalent of 52.5 hours on bank holiday days and received no time off in lieu or equivalent payment as he was entitled to", and £170 in damages for unpaid wages for two days' work.

Despite filing what the Tribunal described as a "poorly particularised" response to Mr Vieira's claims, Design Foods Ltd repeatedly "failed" to participate in any of the hearings leading up to the final judgment against it.

Deputy Chair of the Tribunal, Advocate Ian Jones, observed: "The Respondent also failed to appear at the final hearing and again failed to offer any explanation as to why. No application for an adjournment was made and no attempt was made at any stage to engage with the Claimant. By contrast the Claimant fully engaged with the process, and he followed and complied with all of the directions given by the Tribunal."

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Pictured: Design Food failed to fully engage with the case heard by the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal.

He continued: "At the final hearing then the Tribunal was left in a position where all of the evidence that was presented on behalf of the Claimant was unchallenged. While the Tribunal conducted a hearing and made enquiries as appropriate of the Claimant, there was little doubt that on the basis of the evidence the Claimant had satisfied the burden of proof as to his claims.

"Prima facie, on the basis of the evidence adduced by the Claimant the various claims were all made out. What was required to change that was evidence from the Respondent challenging the contentions and testimony adduced by the Claimant. There was no such challenge which had the perhaps inevitable result (at least in the circumstances of this case) that the Claimant succeeded in each of his claims.

"If the Respondent had any or any substantive response to put forwards in order to defend these claims then in my view it was given a more than ample opportunity. If there were defences available to the Respondent then the responsibility for failing to present them in accordance with the orders of the Tribunal (or at all) must lie at the door of the Respondent and the Respondent alone."

Together, the compensation and damages awards total £19,820.

The unfair dismissal award could have been higher, the Tribunal said, but it was reduced by 25% to take into account the size of the business.

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