Hogan v Mac Energy Limited

The case

A claim for breach of payslips and contracts, amongst others

Mr Hogan was a plumber employed by the Company for approximately six months. As his probation was coming to an end, the Company decided that they were not going to pass his probation, and his employment would end.

Mr Hogan brought several claims, including unfair dismissal, disability discrimination, unlawful deduction from wages, failure to provide a compliant employment contract, and failure to comply with statutory obligations relating to payslips.

Mr Hogan had an insufficient length of service to bring an unfair dismissal claim, and, in their judgment, the Tribunal determined that Mr Hogan was not discriminated against on the grounds of disability.

However, it is very important for employers to note that the Company did have to pay compensation of £4,500 to Mr Hogan for failures linked to his contract and payslips.

This situation could have been easily avoided had the company taken advice on ensuring the law compliance of its employment documents and payment processes.

Concerning the payslips, the Tribunal noted that Mr Hogan was paid weekly on Fridays. However, the Company sent out payslips monthly, which is inconsistent with the law and requires a payslip to be provided at or before the time of payment. On occasion, the monthly payslips were late, and Mr Hogan had to chase them up.

The Company effectively had no defence to these breaches, and the Tribunal penalised it harshly with an award of compensation totalling £2,700 (made up of three weeks’ gross pay).

In relation to the contract, the company provided a Statement of Employment Terms (contract), but the employee failed to collect it, and the Company forgot to remind him. The Tribunal, however, did not penalise either party for this delay.

The issues with the contract lay within the specific terms. Mr Hogan was required to work in Guernsey during his employment, and his contract of employment did state that should an employee be required to work outside Jersey for more than four weeks, revised terms would be agreed upon beforehand (a requirement of the law). However, revised terms were not agreed upon with Mr Hogan beforehand, contrary to the Company’s own contract.

Again, the Tribunal did not look favourably upon this situation, which, realistically, could be described as an own-goal by the Company given that their own contract explained that they would do something (provide the amended terms), which they then failed to do.

Therefore, the tribunal was realistically left with little choice but to award compensation to the employee, which, in this case, totalled a further £1,800 (two weeks’ pay).

The employer also came unstuck in this case regarding an unlawful deduction from wages (resulting in a damages payment to the employee of £243.70) and a failure to pay a return ferry fare (resulting in further damages of £105).

LAW analysis

Each of these claims could have been easily avoided if the employer had sought good-quality advice – even if they were unable to avoid the claims in the first place, and we argue that they were 100% avoidable.

Given the straightforward nature of the claims and the high likelihood of the employee being successful, it would have been much more commercially sensible to enter settlement discussions and settle the claims early before going to the time and cost of attending at least two Tribunal hearings. This is especially true if the claims were going to be lost anyway.

According to the 2023 Tribunal Annual Report, employers tend not to successfully defend claims related to contracts and payslips – but it doesn’t need to be this way.

Speak to us today about our cost-effective Tribunal defence and representation services to avoid finding yourself on the wrong side of the law!

February 2024 – Jersey

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