LONDON (Within the Law) - A judge has criticised a law firm for illegally making deductions from a consultant solicitor’s pay. The employment tribunal found that dissatisfaction with the quality of work is not a reason to dock pay.
The tribunal had been hearing a claim for unlawful deductions, the claim was made by Alastair Dobbie who worked as a consultant for the firm Feltons. His claim rested on two pillars: As well as the deductions he claimed to be suffering detriments for having his consultancy agreement terminated.
He also claimed there was an agreement to double the £5,000 monthly fee he was receiving for two months.
Feltons said they were unhappy with the standard of his work which contained errors in High Court proceedings which meant they had to be reissued. The founder, Paula Felton, spent a ‘great deal of time working on the matter herself as a result.’
Judge Elliot found there was no agreement to double the fee and noted there was no record of it.
“The claimant is a solicitor and understands the importance of a written record of an agreement, particularly one that is as important to him as his pay. It was a simple enough matter, had there been such an agreement, for him to send an email.”
However, Elliot found against the other deductions.
“If a worker or employee performs below standard, the employer has options it can take. This is either to performance manage the worker or to terminate the contract subject to the legal requirements that apply to that situation.
“The remedy is not to make deductions from pay and this is the purpose of section 13 [of the] Employment Rights Act so that employees and workers are not subject to deductions from wages where there is no agreement to the deduction.”
The judge went on to find that Mr Dobbie was entitled to most of the rest of the sum claimed but gave the firm credit for post-termination payments mad o £4,400.
Judge Elliot concluded by saying there will have to be another hearing to determine a remedy but strongly urged the two parties to resolve the matter.
The judge said there would have to be another hearing to determine remedy but “strongly urged” the parties to resolve it.
(Written by Tom Cropper, edited by Klaudia Fior)