I handed my notice in on Monday effective immediately at my current employer as the job was not as described at interview stage. Rightly or wrongly I have withheld on handed my phone and laptop back in until I have been paid my £200 expenses owed. I have emailed the director of the company who has been very unprofessional with his worded emails back.

He has said when the items have been returned he will pay my expenses which is fair enough.

I said I would post them today.

At about 4pm he sent me an email (he probably assumed I had posted the items at that point) saying I owe 130 pounds for the Christmas party as I won’t be attending now and asking how I wish to pay this. I have never at any stage been advised if I don’t attend I would have to pay any cancellation costs and I believe if I hadn’t still had the phone and laptop that I’d had ever received a reply on email.

Where do I stand? Do I have to pay the costs to a function that was booked in August when I started in November? Can they refuse to pay me?

  • If they paid you, just leave and forget about it (as long as there is nothing in your contract about it) Dec 6, 2018 at 18:54
  • 4
    Generally, you are not responsible for any expenses incurred by employer, unless its stated in the contract.
    – Strader
    Dec 6, 2018 at 18:59
  • They haven’t paid me, I’m still waiting on that. Thank you for your response though I really appreciate it Dec 6, 2018 at 19:22
  • "Dear Mr Director, Unfortunately I do not presently have the funds available to be able to post your equipment back to you. Please add the cost of this postage to the £200 expenses you already owe me so that I will be able to return your equipment and I will be certain to do so as soon as I receive the funds" ...
    – brhans
    Dec 6, 2018 at 21:55
  • You could just say, "For 130 I'd be glad to go ahead and attend the Christmas party anyway. Just let me know when and where." :) But to be fair and clear, you are now in what is commonly known as a "pissing contest", and so it is probably no longer about the money. I'd bet they'd be willing to spend 500 or more just for the feeling of having 'won'. You can try to escalate or de-escalate, but there is no guaranty the other party will reciprocate and suddenly be nice and reasonable.
    – BrianH
    Dec 6, 2018 at 22:59

4 Answers 4


Give back the equipment and write off the £200

While you make technically have a case, you're going to spend more money going to court. Secondly, your former employer likely has a lawyer/barrister on retainer. A professional will make sure you spend over £200 is money/time or both.

They DO have a case if you've kept equipment that is not yours. Give that back NOW!

As for the £130 cancellation, did you sign a contract mentioning this? You likely didn't. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm betting the guy is trying to recoup the money, and have a very poor legal leg to stand on. You can try not paying it and just seeing what happens.

The company made decided to play hard-ball "on the priniciple of it."

  • You could still pursue the expenses claim through the small claims procedure in the UK - it can be done online now - no lawyer required. Cost is £35 for up to a £300 claim (add the court fee cost to the claim!). But you must send back company property. You can't hold property to ransom and expect the support of law. Ignore the £130 claim unless there is any record of an agreement to pay it on your behalf.
    – Charemer
    Jan 18, 2022 at 10:17

I am not a lawyer but holding the company's property hostage is probably not the best way to get the money you are owed. In fact, you could be accused of theft. I would return their property, and if the £200 is worth fighting for I would hire a lawyer.


Don’t hang onto the equipment, but if they don’t pay your expenses in full, then take a look at the small claims option (assuming you are in the UK, as the currency implies,) as it’s a low cost, low risk option for you.

Unless the cost of the function was something you had a choice about, IANAL but would claim for that if they withheld money for that.


Well, they are scam artists. That demand of theirs is just ridiculous. So you call them again and ask for your money. If they mention the Christmas party, you say that it was a good joke, and you want your money.

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