Seventy staff who lost their jobs when Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant in Cornwall collapsed win legal claim for £200,000 after being made redundant without notice
- Former employees will receive the equivalent of eight weeks’ pay after ruling
- Fifteen Cornwall – which celebrity chef, 45, launched in 2006 – closed last year
- Oliver was no longer involved with the chain when it collapsed before Christmas
Seventy workers who lost their jobs at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant in Cornwall have won more than £200,000 after a successful legal claim.
The former employees at the shuttered site at Watergate Bay near Newquay will receive the equivalent of eight weeks’ pay after a tribunal found bosses failed to consult with them over the redundancies.
Fifteen Cornwall – which the celebrity chef, 45, launched in 2006, closed just days before Christmas last year without any prior notice. Oliver was no longer involved with the chain when it collapsed.
Fifteen Cornwall (right) – which the celebrity chef, 45, (left) launched in 2006, closed just days before Christmas last year without any prior notice
The law requires employers to consult with staff for at least 30 days whenever 20 or more employees are likely to be made redundant.
When can I challenge a redundancy and what money could I be entitled to?
If you are part of a group of 20 or more people who are being made redundant, this means you are part of a ‘collective redundancy’. In this case, your employer must hold a consultation at least 30 days before each job ends.
This consultation – held with a union or worker representatives – should involve the employer explaining, among other things, why redundancies are necessary and how they will work out redundancy payments.
If your employer fails to consult with you then you could be entitled to a Protective Award. This is granted by an employment tribunal using money from a government scheme. The maximum award covers eight weeks’ worth of pay, capped at £538 a week.
Other valid reasons for challenging a redundancy include being discriminated against on the grounds or race or sex or not being selected for a fair reason.
People who have been employed for more than two years have additional protections. They can claim for unfair dismissal on the grounds that the redundancy is not necessary; the employer has not followed a fair process; or they have not offered another role when one was available.
Source: Citizens Advice.
Employees are entitled to compensation, called a Protective Award, when that does not happen.
The Fifteen staff were approached by solicitors who offered to challenge their redundancies in return for a cut of the proceeds, but instead they turned to Citizens Advice who helped them for free.
Adviser Martin Jackson said ‘This is a great result for the former employees. The extra money will help tide them over Christmas.
‘Many have suffered a double whammy from being made redundant with no notice last winter and since then have been unable to find stable jobs in hospitality and catering due to lockdown.’
Citizens Advice Cornwall chief executive Gill Pipkin said ‘As soon as the job losses were announced, solicitors’ firms were lobbying the ex-employees for business with ‘no win, no fee’ schemes that would have led to them charging over £50,000 for making the applications, which Citizens Advice has done for free.
‘Anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation can come to Citizens Advice, where we can look into their case and, if necessary, help with any claim.’
The restaurant, launched in 2006 by Jamie Oliver, made the announcement it was going into liquidation in emails and via social media in December 2019 and ceased trading with immediate effect after almost 14 years.
A Crowdfunder was later launched to help the staff losing their jobs with the hopes of raising £10,000.
Helen Wilson-Prowis, former Operations Manager for Cornwall Food Foundation said ‘It’s been a really challenging year for everybody but everybody’s kept in touch and really coordinated well to get the where we are today.
‘I would like to say a massive thank you to Martin Jackson in particular from Citizens Advice and them as an organisation for taking this on and helping us all.
‘We couldn’t have done it without them.’
The Fifteen staff were approached by solicitors who offered to challenge their redundancies in return for a cut of the proceeds, but instead they turned to Citizens Advice who helped them for free