I’ve not been able to blog about our employment before as we had hoped to take our scumbag boss to court for not paying us our contractual wage and for sexual discrimination in the workplace. Sadly we have discovered that justice is only for the rich, and as we don’t have a spare £15000.00 to pay a lawyer, we have had to give up on the idea. So instead, to leave this all firmly in 2012, I’m going to tell you all now, about the evil man who tried to destroy us, numerous times…
We had a lovely 3 bed semi, for a low rent, huge garden, prospects to buy it from our landlord in the future, free reign over decor and room for expansion. We both had jobs we enjoyed but were keeping our prospects open for that move up the career ladder. We thought all our luck had come at once, when Jonny boss offered us our dream job – running a pub together! It meant leaving everything though… our home and our other jobs, to live at the pub. We took it, as we liked the idea of a salaried wage, free accommodation and bills paid. The salary was very low for management, but still better than what we were previously on and there was a good school there that Bunny could get into.
Our boss made our jobs difficult from the outset, he had no idea about running a business, let alone a pub, his customer service skills were terrible and he constantly cocked up the promotions and publicity to either land us in trouble or make the pub look less desirable. The biggest moneymakers – like functions, live music etc, he wouldn’t allow us to do, but blamed us everytime the pub had a bad week.
We were supposed to recruit our own staff yet he was constantly throwing us untrained staff who hadn’t been interviewed and had no experience. These included one thief, one drug dealer and a few who weren’t old enough to serve behind the bar! One time, we interviewed a lady, deemed her unsuitable, told her unfortunately she’d been unsuccessful, then our boss turned around and hired her a week later! He also made me take out a phone contract for the pub, for which I have been stuck paying ever since, as he wont pay it back.
Don’t even get me started on the illegal operations our boss tried to bring into the pub. Or both the mice and rat infestations, which he refused to deal with!
We however made the best of our job and thrived off the hard work. We ourselves would only operate legitimately and legally, much to our bosses cost-cutting disgust. If those walls could talk…
Anyway, 5 months into our job, I announced my pregnancy. A week later, our boss told us we had to move out. He said our salary would increase and he would help us with the deposit on a new home by way of apology. The letter said we had a month… he told us that actually we only had two weeks, but it didn’t matter as we would “only need a 2 bed flat”. That’s when we announced the pregnancy was actually twins. That’s when the sobbing began. We had no money as we’d been trying to pay off our debts and only just got married. I was suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum and our hopes of getting a new rental home was bleak as we both had terrible credit ratings and nobody to act as a guarantor. We also had Eva, our dalmatian – something letting agents and landlords frown upon.
We eventually found somewhere and our boss paid the deposit. By miracle, we passed the credit checks. We had the expense of moving yet again and I couldn’t do much to help, in my condition. To our horror, the week after we moved in, our boss started deducting £200 from every pay packet (fortnightly). We asked why and he said “it’s your loan”. When we asked what he was talking about, it became clear, that the deposit, wasn’t by way of apology or a helping hand – he expected it back (at a rate we couldn’t afford)!
We had gone from paying no rent, council tax, water or electric, to having to pay £15000 a year for them. Our accommodation and bills which had been written into our contract, were worth about the same, although he only put a value of £6000 on them in our contract. When it came down to our pay increase though – it was only £2500. That’s a kick in the gut – not an increase at all! Our boss then, obviously, sublet the flat (against brewery regulations) at an extortionate rental value and made himself a huge profit.
On May 14th, I gave birth to my twins, Jonny then took paternity leave to spend two weeks with us. On his first day back at work, our boss sacked him. There was no hearing, no chance for Jonny to defend himself. He was sacked for drinking on duty on May 14th. *AHEM* What day was I giving birth? What day was Jonny in hospital with me constantly by my side? May 14th. Our boss had made the whole thing up and replaced him with someone who works for a lower salary.
There was a week of tears, as we panicked on how we’d survive financially. I was breastfeeding and hormonal anyway, so it was a difficult time for us. But my wonderful, strong husband, despite his anger and the betrayal he’d suffered, got himself a new job, just six days later.
Then in October, my boss sold the business, without telling me, without telling the new owner about me and just stopped paying my maternity pay. When I asked him what was going on, he claimed he’d sent me a letter (he hadn’t) and I wasn’t his responsibility anymore. Needless to say he kept the mobile phone that is in my name too! He said the new owner had a contract ready for me and my maternity pay all set up. Except the new owner, had never heard of me. He had been tricked too and as there was no TUPE agreement, I wasn’t his responsibility.
We then had 9 weeks without my maternity pay. We weren’t entitled to any benefits and thanks to an HM Revenue screw up – we don’t get working tax credits either. We were trying to feed a family of five, off one part time wage, as hours were tight at Jonny work. We couldn’t pay our rent and were facing homelessness. I’d just finished breastfeeding and it was another emotional rollercoaster. Our evil boss was putting us through hell again, we couldn’t understand why he was trying to destroy us when we were the ones who turned his shoddy failing business into a successful one.
Three times he threatened the security of our home. We were left in more debt, on a lower wage and with less prospects, than we had before we took our supposed dream job. The dream had actually been a nightmare. The man was a dickhead and we cannot begin to describe the emotional distress he put us through.
Eventually, the new owner of the pub, having a heart, took me on, even though I’m still on maternity leave. If he hadn’t, we’d be homeless now.
Jonny and I often ask ourselves why these curveballs are always thrown at us. We have always tried only to earn an honest living. We work hard and we are wonderful parents to our three beautiful girls. But in the seven years we have been together, every time anything has ever gone right for us, something like this has happened. Perhaps it is some kind of test, to see how strong we are as a couple. But we will always stand tall and fight anything that comes our way. We have learnt the truth behind the sayings “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, and “trust no one”. Perhaps he and I are a walking Cliche.
Our boss is now driving around in his new car with a big grin on his face for all the money he has taken from us and made by exploiting us. We hate that man for the things he has done, but he is no longer worth our time. If we can’t fight him in court, then we are to leave this story firmly in our past and hope that maybe someday, Karma will come around for him.
Oh my god, what a year you’ve had!! I don’t know much about legals or the law but I’m very sure the citizens advice bureau can give you a lot of help and may possibly be able to advise on getting you legal aid. It is worth a shot at least and it could at least get you some money back. I hope you have a much better 2013, you definitely deserve it!!
Unfortunately there’s no such thing as legal aid when it comes to employment law. We’ve taken advice from ACAS who said that we need a Lawyer but we can’t afford it and aren’t strong enough to fight it without representation. Thankyou for your kind comment xx
Oh my word, no idea how you can keep calm about all that. That man is a vile, inhuman piece of scum. Bloody awful. You’re both better people than I am, I’d be baying for blood – my mother has always said I have anger issues though, she’s probably right. I wish you all the best of luck for 2013, hopefully this will be your year =) x
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Thankyou. It has been very hard. There have been times of anger and many more of tears. This man will never know what he put us through. xx
You poor dears! You are definitely stronger- what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. How about writing to your local paper? You may not get your money back but future employees would be warned, although he sold the business, he most likely has another one or is doing something else.
‘This too shall pass’ is my favourite poem by Helen Steiner Rice, google to have a read and I hope it encourages you. At least you are all in good health and you have your family. Those things are priceless, money can’t buy them 🙂
A beautiful poem. Thankyou for leading me to it. You are right, our health and our family are the most important things in this life. We thought about going to the papers, but this has gone on for over a year now and we want to leave it behind as we start the new year. xx
Jaime Oliver says
this is so dreadful and you have my complete empathy, i too went through a similar situation while i was a single mum to my daughter. I nearly lost me house and since i was living on credit i didtnt back down and took on a fantastic solicitor who allowed me to pay small nominal amounts each month as my case was so strong.
5 weeks before court they admitted they had behaved in appropriately and that they had not followed legal laws and stature regarding the employment of staff and they paid my legal fees (which was in the region of £9,000 and they paid me 3 months full wages and paid a£2,000 damages!
These people are scum and your right karma is a wonderful thing (even if its slow!)
in my case 9 months after they admitted everything their business went bankrupt and they shut up the business and only just managed to keep the roof over their heads! … i am sure your karma will come some day too
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I’m sorry to hear you went through a similar thing. It’s a shame our outcome was not as great as yours. They have now sold three businesses between them as they just don’t have a clue – but as far as I know, they have wasted all that money they made! xx
Hilda Hazel Wright says
If you can’t fight it then all you can do is continue to stand strong, make the best you possibly can out of what you have and be happy so that this person is left behind and no longer has the power over your life. You have to believe that he will not get away with behaving like this his whole life and that somewhere along the line he will cross the wrong person and not get away with it. Really awful all the things that have happened, but you’ve chosen a positive way forward rather than wallowing in misery, good for you!
Thankyou for such a supportive and kind comment. I hope you are right… that one day he will mess with the wrong person. In the end, we just weren’t powerful enough or rich enough to fight. xx
Mummy Glitzer says
Oh my goodness, some people are AWFUL!
When I consulted a solicitor over my enhanced redundancy settlement and told her about how I had been treated by my employers she said I had a very strong case for unfair dismissal (or similar I can’t recall exactly) but that to do so would mean only taking the statutory legal redundancy and pay my own fees, risking losing and being left high and dry. The enhanced package is how we were able to make a fresh start and so I felt I had no option but to take it.
You and your husband sound like us though. Every single time something goes well for us, it all gets snatched away but like you, we have survived so much more as a couple in the 8 years than most go through in their entire lifetimes together and we are stronger as a result, I truly believe that!
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It’s amazing isn’t it. Some people live out their lives with no issues, but perhaps if there had been, they wouldn’t have got through it. We are stronger, you are so right. The legal system and the fees for lawyers totally suck though. People shouldn’t get away with these things so easily.
Lets hope that for your family and mine, 2013 will be luckier for us. xx
Mum Reinvented says
Is this moron running a pub elsewhere do you know? I worked for the police and licensing came under my remit at one point and depending on what he was up to including employing minors etc you could make his life very difficult if you wanted to. If you hadn’t got a job with the new landlord I’d say go to the Brewery and if they wouldn’t help then the papers and make someone help you that way. I’ve still got contacts in licensing if you want to give me a shout and I’ll see if/what could be done to make sure he is either monitored very closely or refused a new license altogether. You sound like you’ve been through hell, hope everything starts to improve for you now x
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He was but he is now selling that one too as he is incapable of running it properly on his own! Thankyou for the offer, but unless a last minute Lawyer offers their services for free… we want to leave this in the past now and move on xx
Rachel Gully says
Omg I’m speechless! What a horrid man! I really hope someone reads this and can help you out on taking this guy to court and pay for what he has done!
I hope you have cancelled the mobile phone contract….or at least reported the phone as stolen as that’s affectively what it is if he has it yet its in your name!
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Thankyou. That’d be amazing but I doubt it will happen!
I haven’t reported it, as I’m pretty sure they will still charge me for it. For them to class it as stealing I’d have to contact the police too. Worth thinking about I suppose.
What a complete tosser! I can’t believe this. I’m glad you stayed strong and made it through.
esther james says
You are correct that the man is a dickhead, may karma give him a big kick in the balls. You are so strong, and should be proud of how you have come through this
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Lesley Bain says
What an awful year you have all had. You have such a great attitude though, get it all off your chest and leave it where it belongs. It is awful that you cannot do anything legally to get justice, but dwelling on it and harbouring resentment will make you ill, it is great you can be positive and put it in its place.
You and your husband are obviously so strong together, it is amazing how much you can cope with when you have a supportive partner at your side, in that respect you are both very lucky.
One day he will get what he deserves, as will you and your lovely family 🙂
Happy new year, wishing you much luck and happiness in 2013 xxx
Mum in a Hurry says
I have sent your blog to a friend who is a barrister. I figure she may know someone who might be able to help if she can’t herself. Hoping you have a better 2013.
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Jamillah Yoozooph says
My word this sounds like a targetted extortion, and though I can only imagine the heartache you have been through you write so honestly and bravely about it.
As a mum of twins and a singleton myself who has looked homelessness in the eye, and has been plunged into the bracket of ‘working poverty’, it is amazing to think that someone would attack such a family, when you are clearly tryng to do everything you need to in order to make a better life for yourselves.
I wish you strength, courage and less bullshit in 2013 xxx
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Oh this is an absolute disgrace 🙁 x
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