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Laser hair removal company acted with "element of spite" to employee

Laser hair removal company acted with

Wednesday 07 December 2022

Laser hair removal company acted with "element of spite" to employee

Wednesday 07 December 2022

A laser hair removal company, which acted with "an element of spite" in holding back an employee's training certificates while simultaneously demanding payment for the course, has been ordered to pay more than £1,300 in unpaid wages and notice pay.

The Employment and Discrimination Tribunal ruled that Roger and Patricia Woodward, of Jrsy Laser Limited, had been "notably hostile" towards their former employee during the hearing and that the "respondent did themselves and their business no credit whatsoever".

The employee had made an initial claim for just over £3,000 in unpaid wages and a further £652 for unpaid notice pay, but subsequently acknowledged that she had miscalculated her claim.

Jrsy Laser Limited had claimed that it would not offer any unpaid wages owing to a £1,915 training course that the company had paid for with the expectation that it would be repaid if the employee left before three years service as well as a further £180 for training certificates and £160 for uniform costs. They also contended that they had dismissed the employee for gross misconduct and were not required to give notice.

In a recent judgment, Advocate Ian Jones, deputy chair of the tribunal, said: "The respondent contended that the claimant was guilty of gross misconduct and made several allegations, which in my view were largely unfounded and certainly unproven. They should not in truth have been made and reflected poorly on the respondent. I do not repeat them in this judgment.

"In my view I am not persuaded that the claimant was dismissed for gross misconduct or that the respondent had any basis whatsoever to purport to dismiss her for gross misconduct. Certainly, the respondent came nowhere close to persuading me otherwise. Accordingly I find that the claimant is entitled to be paid one weeks' salary pursuant to the [Employment (Jersey)] Law."

The employee, according to the judgment, was to be paid at a rate of £18 per hour – with a minimum monthly salary of £2,500 regardless of number of hours worked.

However, her terms of employment were that she would pay for the training course should she leave the company before completing three years of service.
Advocate Jones, in the tribunal judgment, ruled: "There was no dispute that the claimant undertook the training course and the evidence is that she agreed to the amount (being £1,915.00). There can be (and is not) no dispute that the claimant did not complete three years of service and so I find that she is liable to pay for the training course.

"During the hearing it transpired that the certificates for completing the training course had been withheld by the respondent on the basis that unless or until the claimant paid for them she could not have them. In evidence that position seemed to change and the suggestion was made that the certificates had not been issued because the claimant had not completed the training. The position changed again when I pressed the respondent about this, and it then transpired that the certificates had been issued but that the respondent was not sure whether or not they could be given to the claimant as the respondent had not confirmed that the training had been completed.

"Putting it as charitably as I can, the respondent's evidence in this regard was not only incoherent but was also in my view tainted with an element of spite. It was clear to me that the respondent was determined to make the claimant pay for the training she had done but not let her have the benefit of such training. The claimant during the hearing seemingly had no in principle difficulty in paying for the training course but made the perfectly reasonable point (in my view) that she should not be required to pay for a training course that she could not then have the benefit of."

Advocate Jones added that the £160 for uniform costs was not applicable as the uniforms had been returned.

The tribunal agreed that the training costs should be offset against any award and ordered that a sum of £1,312.92 be paid to the employee in unpaid wages and notice pay.

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