Cleaning boss ‘threatened to kill’ former employee during tribunal hearing on unpaid wages


A WOMAN threatened to kill a former employee during a hearing to resolve claims of unpaid wages, an Employment Tribunal judgment has revealed.

The threat was made during a telephone hearing on 12 July to resolve the outstanding claims of former cleaner Maria Fernanda Rodrigues, who had worked for Many Hands Limited for more than 13 years before she was constructively dismissed earlier this year.

In her judgment, tribunal chairperson Dr Elena Moran noted that Janette Roberton, representing Many Hands Limited, had told the telephone hearing that she could not continue with the proceedings because she was being asked confusing questions before stating, ‘If I see Maria, I will kill her’.

Shortly after, she used what the chairperson described as offensive language and then disconnected the call.

On 16 June, the tribunal had finalised orders confirming compensation of £7,540.20 for constructive dismissal and failing to provide pay slips, but it held a further telephone hearing on 12 July after Ms Roberton had failed to comply with a requirement to provide details of Ms Rodrigues’ working hours and payment rates, so that the remainder of her claim could be determined.

Giving her judgment, Dr Moran said: ‘The respondent was given an opportunity to explain the non-compliance with the orders at the hearing on 12 July 2022.

‘The only explanation given, the ill health of Ms Roberton, is unacceptable in circumstances where no evidence of her ill health has been provided to the tribunal.

‘Also, her suggestion that the documents could be provided the following day suggests that there is no reason why they could not have been provided by the deadline of 23 June 2022 or at least at some point before the 12 July 2022 hearing.

‘I therefore strike out the respondent’s defence to the claims of unpaid wages, petrol allowance and holiday pay.’

Dr Moran went on to award Ms Rodrigues a further £4,174.50 to cover those outstanding aspects of her claim.

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