UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (National): Rail agency boss stopped in her tracks

Press Release   •   Oct 26, 2010 12:29 BST

The Director of a recruitment firm supplying rail workers has been banned from running an employment agency for seven years following action taken by the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate (EAS).

The hearing at Norwich Employment Tribunal follows an investigation by the EAS, which is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Tribunal heard how Christine Lewiss, from Trimmingham near Norwich, withheld wages from workers totalling over £11,000. The offences were committed by two companies she operated, Rail Recruit UK Ltd and Rail Recruit UK Projects Ltd.

The Tribunal banned Ms Lewiss from running or being concerned with the running of an employment agency or employment business for seven years.

EAS brought the case having successfully prosecuted Ms Lewiss in June 2009 at Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court. This resulted in her being ordered to pay back withheld wages as well as £1,000 costs.

Edward Davey, the Minister responsible for employment relations, said:

“This verdict should act as a warning signal to agencies who exploit their workers. We will take action against rogue recruiters in Norfolk, and across the country, who flout the law and undermine the vast majority of agencies who play fairly”.

EAS brought this case under the Employment Agencies Act 1973.

Notes for Editors

1. The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) made an application to prohibit Christine Lewiss under Section 3A of the Employment Agencies Act 1973.

2. Under the Act, Employment Tribunals may prohibit individuals, companies or partnerships, from carrying on, or being concerned with the carrying on, of an employment agency or an employment business for a period of up to ten years on grounds of misconduct.

3. Employment Tribunals will consider evidence from BIS on applications made by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and can issue a total ban against a person or attach certain conditions attached to any order.

4. Anyone with a complaint or query about an employment agency or about the law applying to agencies should contact the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate by emailingeas@bis.gsi.gov.uk or calling the Pay and Work Rights helpline on 0800 917 2368. Agency workers can find out more about the rights they are entitled to by visitingwww.direct.gov.uk/agencyworkers or by calling the Pay and Work Rights helpline on 0800 917 2368.

5. The Employment Agency Standards inspectorate is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. To find out more about the EAS, please visit www.bis.gov.uk/eas

6. Agencies that break the law can face prosecution and courts may impose unlimited fines for the most serious offences. Rogue agencies can also be banned from operating for up to ten years. A current list of prohibited people is available on the EAS website www.bis.gov.uk/eas

7. BIS' online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. Seehttp://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom for more information.

Contacts

NDS Enquiries 
Phone: For enquiries please contact the issuing dept 
ndsenquiries@coi.gsi.gov.uk