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Cleaning business ordered to pay £17.5k to staff for unfair dismissal

Cleaning business ordered to pay £17.5k to staff for unfair dismissal

Thursday 07 July 2022

Cleaning business ordered to pay £17.5k to staff for unfair dismissal

Thursday 07 July 2022

A cleaning business has been ordered to pay more than £17,500 to two former employees after they were unfairly dismissed.

The Employment Tribunal told Many Hands Limited to pay the money to Maria Fernanda Rodrigues and Fatima Carvalho, who made separate claims for constructive unfair dismissal.

They were awarded compensation and damages.

In the case of Ms Carvalho, she was employed by Many Hands from 2022 until May this year. She went to the tribunal claiming unpaid wages, no payslips, a defective contract of employment and failure to pay the minimum wage.

At one hearing last month, Janette Roberton represented Many Hands by telephone. 


Pictured: Dr Elena Moran chaired the Tribunal.

In her judgement, Tribunal Chair Dr Elena Moran said: “At the start of the hearing I summarised events to date. Ms Roberton used offensive language and the call disconnected.  

“The Registrar reconnected her to the hearing at which point Ms Roberton suggested that the tribunal should visit her at home.

“She said she did not wish to continue to attend the hearing by telephone as the situation was causing her stress.

“She also said that she would pay any unpaid wages owing but is waiting for information from Ms Carvalho about the hours worked.  

“I indicated that if Ms Roberton did not want to participate in the hearing by telephone, it would continue in her absence at which point she ended the call.”

Ms Roberton did not file an updated response form, leading Dr Moran to judge that she had all the information she needed to determine liability.

She awarded a total sum to Ms Carvalho of £9,990.52.

Meanwhile, Mrs Rodrigues worked as a cleaner for Many Hands between 2008 and April this year. She claimed constructive unfair dismissal, holiday pay, unpaid wages, no payslips, and a failure to pay the minimum wage.

She said that she was forced to resign due to, among other things, no payslips - making it impossible for her to tell if she had been paid correctly or the correct social security deductions made - consistent late payment of wages since 2020 and no payment of wages since 20 March 2022.

The tribunal received a response form from Many Hands, which was unsigned and contained no grounds on which the claims were defended. In relation to the question “Do you defend the claim?” the respondent did not tick 'yes' or 'no'. 

Ms Roberton was contacted but said she was ill and unable to attend the tribunal in person - however, she did not provide any medical evidence to substantiate her claims.

Dr Moran concluded: “If Ms Roberton was too ill to attend the hearing in person, there were several options open to [her]; an application to adjourn, Ms Roberton could have attended by telephone or another representative could have attended the hearing.  

“None of these occurred. I therefore considered that it was appropriate to continue with the hearing in the absence of the respondent.”

The Tribunal found in favour of Mrs Rodrigues in the matter of failing to receive payslips and constructive unfair dismissal but had insufficient information to determine her claims for holiday pay, unpaid wages and minimum wage.

Another hearing was arranged, and Many Hands was asked to provide evidence for it.

However, no representations were received, and the tribunal ordered the company to pay Mrs Rodrigues £7,540.20.  

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