Rogue recruiters ignore warnings at their peril

Officials at the business department have announced that Zoe Evans, director of a Loughborough-based recruitment agency trading as Kensington Mayfair, has been required by magistrates to pay £2.3m in fines and costs, following her prosecution for withholding pay from seven workers, writes Theresa Mimnagh of recruitment law specialist Lawspeed.

Her actions were in breach of Regulation 12 of the Agency Regs (the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003). These rules provide that an employment business cannot withhold payment from a work seeker on the grounds that the client has not paid it; that there is not a valid timesheet; that the work seeker has not worked any other period other than that to which the payment relates; nor for any other reason that is within the employment business’ control.

Ms Evans was also banned from being a director or company secretary of any limited company for a period of one year. Isis Management Consultancy Limited supplied catering and hospitality staff, many of whom were students at Loughborough University who were using the agency for part-time work.

The Department of Business Innovation and Skills said: “EAS inspectors issued numerous warnings to the directors regarding their failure to pay the workers but they ignored the requirements of the law and prosecution was pursued”.

The announcement goes on to make clear that the Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate are working in conjunction with HM Revenue and Customs’ National Minimum Wage Enforcement Team and have carried out investigations in Swansea.

This confirms the stated BIS policy (since January 2011) of naming those who flout the law. Stories of this kind are a reminder to all in the recruitment industry of the EAS’s powers and demonstrate that the government is prepared to bring prosecutions where the law is flagrantly breached and warnings ignored.

Wednesday 2nd May 2012