ELIPS case study: Success in modern slavery case

A young couple from a Baltic state have been successful in their claims following initial advice from Cardiff Employment Litigant in Person Scheme (ELIPS). The success for Cardiff ELIPS was the first modern slavery case in Wales to be heard at Cardiff Employment Tribunal.

The couple who worked in excess of 100 hours per week at a chip shop in south Wales had never received their wages. They rarely left the premises due to the hours they worked, spent winter living in a flat above the shop without beds, cracked windows and no heating. The owner of the business kept telling them he would pay them once the shop started to make a profit, whilst each week he took vast sums from the till; they received nothing and were treated like slaves.

After almost 3 months without pay, a dispute arose over the condition of the flat they lived in. When the owner threatened to evict the couple they left the property and began a claim in the Employment Tribunal.

They received advice under the ELIPS scheme from employment specialist Solicitor Nathan Vidini who, with assistance from the Tribunal, recognised the case fell under the Modern Day Slavery Act 2015. Without this, they would not have been able to continue in their claims.

Accepting the case on a pro bono basis, Nathan and a barrister (George Pollitt of Iscoed Chambers) successfully represented the couple at a Tribunal hearing where they were awarded a substantial amount for loss of earnings and injury to feelings.

The ELIPS scheme in Cardiff operates on the 3rd Friday of every month for unrepresented parties to an employment dispute and provides on the day representation (for simple, one day or shorter hearings) and advice on claims already issued.

You can find out more about the ELIPS scheme, including volunteering opportunities on the Employment Lawyers Association website or by contacting the ELIPS.