You and the Law – 6th April 2010

For the chop

I worked in a local butchers for five months until I had to take a week off sick, at which point they sacked me with no written warning or anything.  I had a doctor’s note.  Is there anything I can do?  KL

Until you have worked for your employer for 12 months you are in a very vulnerable position, since you are outside most of the Employment Protection legislation and cannot, for instance, claim compensation for unfair dismissal.

You are legally entitled to a week’s notice, or pay in lieu, unless you were sacked for gross misconduct.  So as long as your employer paid you for the week you were absent, that’s an end to the matter.

If you didn’t get paid you can sue your employer for the money in the County Court if necessary.

Cost of dying

My brother-in-law collapsed at home and the police broke down the door of his flat to reach him.  He later died in hospital and the Landlord of the flat is now claiming from his estate for the damage to the door, redecorating the room and replacing the bed.

He also immediately removed all my brother-in-law’s possessions, and several personal papers are still missing.  Can the landlord claim this money, and can we claim against the Landlord for removing the property?  JA

I’m afraid the Landlord can put in a claim for compensation for damage to his property, although this would normally be taken out of any deposit your brother-in-law paid.

It is unlikely, depending on the tenancy agreement, that he could claim for ‘wear and tear’, so if there was a deposit you should insist that it is at least partially repaid.  If items of value are missing you would have a claim against the Landlord for these.  If he hadn’t removed the property immediately he would have probably charged extra rent.

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