Employee was unaware of right to national minimum wage

Friday 13th April 2018 09:57 EDT

The Court of Appeal came to the conclusion that an employer did not have the authority to rely on an employee's lack of knowledge of her rights under United Kingdom law for an affirmation that the employee could not have resigned from work because of what was, otherwise, a cardinal and repudiatory breach of contract by the employer. 

The Court of Appeal, amongst other things, when allowing the appeal, held the claimant, Mwanahamisi Mruke, against the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal on 25thJuly 2014, which dismissed her appeal against the dismissal by an employment tribunal at Watford of her claim against Saeeda Kamal Khan, the defendant, for formative unfair dismissal from domestic service employment under section 95(1)(c) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, in faith on the defendant's failure to pay the claimant a national minimum wage. 

Lord Justice Singh stated that the employment tribunal had found that there was a breach of contract, in reference to the failure to pay the claimant the national minimum wage. Even though that was a breach that was enough to renounce the contract, the tribunal was not convinced that the claimant resigned because of this breach, especially when she was not aware that she was entitled to the national minimum wage.

The conclusion of the employment tribunal was perverse on the evidence that they had before them. In actuality, the claimant, Mwanahamisi Mruke, was given a wage equivalent of 33 pence an hour. This was not only below the national minimum wage, but was extremely shocking and exploitative. 

The tribunal distinguished that the case would not be referred for re-hearing by the employment tribunal, and concluded that the claimant had been unfairly dismissed by the defendant.

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