posted on Sep, 5 2014 @ 02:30 PM
Firstly, I have to be vague about details in this true story because legal process is still ongoing.
My 16 year old son started working full time this summer before starting college this week. He was employed at weekends and half term (semester)
holidays prior to finishing school in June, then 5/6 days per week up until the end of August when he was fired for a minor breach of company
During his entire employment he was never late, never missed a shift, regularly worked late as cover if other workers phoned in sick, and to be honest
I've been really proud of him building his good reputation for himself as he grows into adulthood, and he's been really happy earning a good wage
from his own hard work.
He's often told me about an early 30's director who's hated him since he's worked there, always giving him the tasks which nobody else wanted, and
always speaking with a disrespectful tone to him, a sort of dominance issue if you like. My son sort of ignored it and got on with the tasks to prove
'in your face' he won't be broken, and because he knows he could beat him up in the outside real world...the director also knows it and it explains
his alpha male issues as a boss.
Anyway, the director pulled a 'spot check' at the end of his shift then fired him for this 3rd breach of minor company rules. He didn't
bitch about it when he came home, he knew he'd not been careful enough about giving the prick ammunition to fire him, so deleted that employment
period from his CV/resume as a life lesson.
I however, was fuming. He'd worked 12-13 hour days saving the day when others had phoned in sick, worked shifts that would have been days off at
short notice, and basically been someone any company would've loved to have, but at the sunset of the seasonal work which it is, he got booted with
no chance of a good employment reference to show a future employer.
Now, here's the thing, both me and my son knew that his long hours on printed rotas through the summer (and before he officially left school) were
Under UK law, a 16 year old child who has not yet left school (last friday in June) cannot work more than 8 max hours in a Mon-Fri (school holiday)
day, 8 hours max on a Saturday, and 2 hours on a Sunday. This is with a maximum 35 hours in a seven day period.
A 16 year old who has left school can only work 8 hour days up to a maximum of 40 over a seven day period.
All of these child labour laws were broken by my sons employer. The responsibility is solely on the employer to comply with the law, not the 16 year
old employee, and the child employee cannot legally agree to work longer hours.
Now, while my son was loving the money and was hungry for every hour he could get, the employer filled his rota with 12 and 13 hour shifts and he
loved the money he was earning...he absolutely loved it. But that is irrelevant because the child labour law is clear, he is too young to agree to
work those hours legally. It is the employers responsibility to ensure that the child worker does not exceed the legally prescribed hours and breaks
after certain periods.
I contacted ACAS (The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service , a Crown non-departmental public body of the UK government) who checked the
evidence of payslips (cross referenced with bank payments), plus printed rotas, and they are now contacting the employer with a view to referral for
prosecution or enforced offer of reasonable compensation which my son can consider/negotiate or go for a full tribunal which has the power of a court
of law. Open and shut case, clear evidence of breaking child labour laws, regardless of if my son wanted to earn the money or not.
The result of this case is not in question, it is just unknown how it will pan out depending on the offer of compensation by the employer.
My son was a hard working employee who did over and above everything asked but was fired for breaking some BS and pointless company rules...just
because they were company rules. The beauty of this story is that this same company that backed their director enforcing pointless 'company rules'
sacking my son did not adhere to the laws of the land regarding child labour, and now compliance issues are biting their arse.