EastEnders’ Tanya ignores her TUPE obligations!
For Liz Stephenson, a specialist in employment and trade union law at our London City office, TV’s ‘EastEnders’ current take on employment law rings all too true…
On the sale of the beauty salon in the Square the acting manageress, the lovely Poppy Meadow, is told by the new owner (who she has never been told about) that the salon will be closed for a couple of weeks and there are ‘going to be some changes’.
This happens as the new owner prepares to gut the place and ‘put her own stamp on it’. Poppy looks even more confused and worried than usual, as she has every right to be.
What this ignores is that in this situation, if the salon has been sold as a going concern, there should have been an information and consultation process before the sale (or ‘transfer’ in legal terms). If the new owner intended to take any measures, he or she should have passed these on to Tanya, who should have informed her staff about them and consulted on any changes.
All too often in the case of small, family-run businesses, people assume that the law doesn’t apply, or business-owners are simply unaware of their obligations. This law does apply, whatever the size of the employer.
And Poppy should know that, potentially, she could claim up to 13 weeks’ gross pay for failure to inform and consult her on a TUPE transfer. Of course now she will have to find £160 to issue a claim in the tribunal, and a £230 hearing fee (if it goes all the way to a hearing) unless she qualifies for fee remission.
Life on the Square is tough enough already, and this government isn’t making it any easier!