A former director of a recruitment business has pleaded guilty to failing to pay a work-seeker after the company went into administration.
Andrew Hayter, formerly of WHG Offshore LTD, was found guilty at Oxford Magistrates Court after a case was brought against him by the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate, part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The complainant, Victor Apiafi, a hydrographic surveyor, began work through WHG Offshore in 2011, but experienced pay problems a year later. The company went into administration in Decemeber 2012 after one of its clients, for whom the complainant worked for, went into liquidation and was unable to pay WHG offshore money owed.
Attempts to resolve the failed payments and to avoid a court hearing to repay the owed £15,000 in wages were made by the EAS, but ultimately no payments were forthcoming.
In Oxford Magistrates 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on 27 January, Mr Hayter pleaded guilty to two charges in relation to the non-payment of wages, with a further charge withdrawn.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 current legislation.
The court imposed fines totalling £600, with a victim surcharge of £15. Mr Hayter was also ordered to pay £6,500 in compensation to Mr Apiafi, as well as a contribution of £5,000 towards legal costs.
Jo Swinson, Employment Relations Minister, 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.”