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I was employed for a very short time for a part-time job which has paid training. I did 8 hours over a week, I realised it wasn't really working out for me as I disagreed with the practices there. I had a discussion with the boss who said I shouldn't quit right now but think about it overnight whether the job was really for me and that I would be paid for my time up to that point in any case.

I sent a message to the boss the next day saying in fact I thought it was best to leave, which was unanswered. I sent a follow up 3 days later asking if she got the message, and she wrote "I confirm" but no other details. I asked whether I would receive the pay. After a further 5 days I sent another message saying it was unprofessional to not respond.

A phone call was arranged where she said that she felt I did not do any work worth paying for. I did on the training exactly as I was asked. The boss was very passive agressive saying "sorry I didn't make you my priority" regarding not answering the messages.

There is not a written contract, only the verbal agreement I would be paid regardless. Also in this company I would think it is understood you are hired once you begin the formal training process which involves following their written course and watching videos, which I did during the training time on the boss's instruction.

My strategy is to not respond to the attempts to provoke an argument and just to try to get the money. She eventually agreed to pay in a "goodwill gesture" in a few days; should I just try to take the pay and not bother about arguing the circumstances? If she goes back on it, am I in the right/do I have a case legally?

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    I don't think anyone here can answer about the legality of it. Maybe try and find a CItizen's Advice Bureau which may be able to help (I'm assuming the sums involved may be less than however much a solicitor costs :shrug: ) Sep 21, 2023 at 14:43
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    A verbal contract is worth the paper it is printed on.
    – keshlam
    Sep 21, 2023 at 16:53
  • Here in California we would report this to our state's Employment Development Department (EDD) and they'd deal with the employer. Find out if UK has something similar. EDD deals with this here because the average worker doesn't have the time or resources to go the small claims route.
    – Xavier J
    Sep 21, 2023 at 19:29
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    @XavierJ, No in California, you'd contact the Department of Labor/Labor Commissioner, not EDD. EDD is for filing unemployment. That's different. Sep 21, 2023 at 19:56
  • @StephanBranczyk Good catch. In any case, I can't imagine that the UK doesn't have some organization that deals with shady employers.
    – Xavier J
    Sep 21, 2023 at 19:57

2 Answers 2

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I was employed [...] There is not a written contract

Honestly, the biggest thing you should take from this is a lesson: get it in writing; no reputable company in the UK "employs" people without a contract.

am I in the right

From what you've presented here, yes.

do I have a case legally?

From what you've presented here, yes. Proving it may be tricky though, a lot will depend on what evidence you have that you were in fact employed - anything written (emails etc) were you were clearly taking instruction from your manager is great. This would almost certainly fall into the scope of the small claims court in the UK so wouldn't cost you that much to proceed, but it's still a question of your time and effort; only you can decide if that is worth it or not.

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  • Thanks, I just don't understand why things turned nasty suddenly. I wasn't asking for priority but being ignored for 5 days seems unreasonable
    – user50229
    Sep 21, 2023 at 15:31
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    Honestly, it doesn't really matter why things turned nasty; in reality, far too many companies don't like hearing that they're not the absolute 100% greatest place in the world to work for everyone, all the time. Sep 21, 2023 at 17:55
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If you got free training out of it, you're ahead.

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  • If the "training" was showing you were everything is located in their warehouse, then it is quite useless going forward. And even if it was useful, you should get paid. I learn a lot at my job, still i get paid for being there and learning.
    – kirbby
    Sep 25, 2023 at 13:29
  • Being paid to learn stuff only makes sense if you are going to stay and use that information for the company's benefit.
    – keshlam
    Sep 25, 2023 at 13:34

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