Successful prosecution of recruitment firm boss who failed to pay worker
The prosecution was brought against Andrew Hayter by the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate, part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and was heard at Oxford Magistrates Court.
The complainant, Victor Apiafi, a hydrographic surveyor of Plymouth, began work through WHG Offshore in 2011, but experienced pay problems towards the end of 2012. WHG Offshore went into administration in December 2012 after one of its customers, for whom Mr Apiafi worked, went into liquidation and was unable to pay WHG Offshore money owed.
At this point the complainant was owed around £15,000 in unpaid wages. Attempts were made by EAS to resolve the failed payments and avoid a court hearing but no payments were made.
In court on 27 January, Mr Hayter pleaded guilty to two charges in relation to the non-payment of wages, with a further charge withdrawn. He had previously pleaded guilty to three charges concerning the terms of contract between WHG Offshore and the complainant not being compliant with the current legislation. The court imposed fines totaling £600, with a victim surcharge of £15. Mr Hayter was also ordered to pay £6500 in compensation to the complainant, as well as a contribution of £5000 towards legal costs.
Employment Relations Minister, Jo Swinson, said, “It is totally unacceptable for an employment business to withhold payment to a work-seeker, who completes his side of the agreement by completing the work he was asked to undertake.
“This outcome should remind employment firms that they cannot simply decide not to pay a work-seeker because they haven’t been paid by the hiring company. It also shows we will take the strongest form of action where appropriate and should serve as a warning to anyone who abuses their position.
“A well run flexible private recruitment sector plays an important role in ensuring that the UK’s labour market works effectively. It is essential that employment agencies operate within the law.”