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Employer awarded costs by tribunal after employee’s ‘deliberate and persistent unreasonable conduct’

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In the case of Mr Bright Ampomah v Just Build UK Limited Mr Ampomah brought claims of unlawful deductions from wages, wrongful dismissal and breach of contract. The Tribunal issued an order during a preliminary hearing, requiring Mr Ampomah to set out, in detail, his wages claim and expenses claims. This was done as he had sent many emails containing duplicated and lengthy documents and it was not clear what he was actually claiming he was owed in relation to both wages and expenses.

The employer made an application to the Tribunal asking for an order to strike out the claim due to Mr Ampomah’s conduct and his failure to provide evidence of his right to work in the UK. The employer’s representative pointed to the duplication of documents causing a bundle of 951 pages for what was a low-level wages and expenses claim and the fact that Mr Ampomah had continued to send further duplications of document and then 14 separate emails. He argued that this was unreasonable conduct. The tribunal struck out the claim.

The judge considered whether he should exercise his discretion to award costs against Mr Ampomah. Unreasonable conduct was demonstrated by Mr Ampomah providing different figures for his wages claims, by failing to copy his employer into all tribunal correspondence thereby causing the employer to then make unnecessary applications to the Tribunal and by continuing to send large, largely unexplained documents, that were sometimes contradictory in nature.

The judge rules that the unreasonable conduct of Mr Ampomah was deliberate, persistent and rendered a fair trial impossible. Costs of £3,200 were awarded towards the employer’s costs.

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