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Employment Law Case Update: Fitz v Holland and Barrett Retail Limited

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Asking our employees to work overtime is occasionally a requirement, but do your employment contracts stipulate whether that time will be paid or unpaid?  This has recently been discussed in the case of Fitz v Holland and Barrett Retail Limited which focussed on the hours put in to closing time.

Mr Fitz was employed as a supervisor for Holland and Barrett and would be required to provide cover for the store manager in their absence. Among other tasks, he was required to open and close the store.

Mr Fitz took to the Employment Tribunal (ET) to claim for unlawful deduction of wages, explaining the four stages to closing the store, which included closing the tills, reconciling the tills in the back office, closing the register and finally locking up. Holland and Barrett claimed that this only took a few minutes; however, Mr Fitz argued that other tasks had to be done at the end of the day before the store could be closed. These included cleaning, checking fridge and freezer temperature and checking performance and sales targets.

Mr Fitz claimed that he had worked over 200 hours in overtime after the end of his contracted shifts and that he was not paid for this time.  Holland and Barrett claimed that it was common practice across the retail sector for managers not to be paid for time spent closing the shop.

The ET found that Mr Fitz was employed on a fixed hours’ contract and as such, it is implied that any hours he worked above those fixed hours would be paid. The ET found that there was nothing in writing which made it clear that, when covering the additional managerial duties, these would be without pay. Therefore, it concluded, the time spent closing the shop should be compensated as part of Mr Fitz’s usual hourly rate.

Mr Fitz was awarded £1,019.75 as compensation for the overtime worked.

This case serves as a reminder to those whose staff work beyond a fixed hours’ contract to ensure the correct overtime is being paid.  If you have questions about how to combat this issue with your employees, or you are interested in having a review of your employment contracts, you can contact the Employment team today on 023 8071 7717 or email employment@warnergoodman.co.uk

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice. All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.