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.