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  • Employer Who Put Profits Before Agency Worker's Rights Pays the Price

    19th February 2018

    Employment Tribunals (ETs) have the power to award damages not only to compensate wronged workers but also to make an example of recalcitrant employers.

    In one case (Kocur and Another v Angard Staffing Solutions Limited and Another), an ET made an £8,000 exemplary award against a company that persisted in treating an agency worker less favourably than its own staff.

    Following a previous hearing, the ET had found Royal Mail Group Limited in breach of the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 in failing to issue the worker with a security swipe card to enter the Leeds Mail Centre from 15 September 2016 to 16 May 2017. Such cards were available to all the company's full-time employees and the ET ruled that they should also be issued to agency workers who attended the premises on a sustained and continued basis.

    However, Royal Mail Group Limited took no steps to bring its practices into conformity with the ET's decision. It explained that the immediate cost of issuing swipe cards to all those agency workers in a similar position would be £4,000 and that the long-term cost to the company would be about £120,000 a year.

    In making the exemplary award, the ET noted that providing a swipe card to the worker would cost only about £8. It found that the company's persistent non-compliance was driven by its belief that it would generate a greater profit by continuing to infringe the law than it would have to pay in compensation to the worker.

    The ET set a deadline by which the worker should be afforded the same means of access to the premises as full-time employees. It also recommended that he be granted membership of the company's on-site fitness centre.

    For advice on equal treatment of agency workers, please contact Caroline Mitchell or Maxine Nutting in Devizes on 01380 722311.

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