It’s true that access to the civil courts and the Employment Tribunal has been curtailed in recent years and that the number of claims by staff against their employers has decreased, but it also seems to be the case that the courts are finding more and more ways of holding errant companies and directors to account when claims that are brought are successful.

In Antuzis v D J Houghton [2019], statutory directors were held to be liable personally for inducing breaches of employment contracts when the company was guilty of not paying the National Minimum Wage,  not paying holiday pay and of making unlawful deductions from wages. The court found that because the duties (to pay NMW/holiday pay etc.) were statutory ones, there was a failure by the directors to comply with their own statutory duties towards the company which created a potential liability to a third party (in this case the employees) for inducing breaches of contract (by the company).

This case is hot on the heels of the case of Timis & another v Osipov [2019] in which a whistle blower brought a successful detriment claim against the non-executive directors who carried out a dismissal process in the face of the employee having made protected disclosures, personally. 

Of course there are a myriad of statutory duties that companies owe staff, service users etc. and by putting the statutory directors in the dock alongside the company, it is a novel way of putting corporate defendants under more pressure which is either useful in settlement negotiations or a way of ensuring that the successful Claimant gets compensated.

The Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP) Academy offers training to managers and directors on a number of topics which have been designed to decrease the risk of “getting it wrong” and to increase the validity of the statutory defences that are available to companies who are in dispute with their employees.  You can find out more about the training services that the TSP Academy has to offer here. Alternatively, Employment Law specialist Jolyon Berry would be happy to discuss your requirements or to give advice on any specific employment issues that you may have. He can be contacted on 01206 217034 or to find out more about what’s available.