Trainee solicitor ‘paid €5 per hour’ is awarded €22,000


20 July 2021

A trainee solicitor who claimed he was paid the equivalent of €5 an hour at times has been awarded €22,439 against his former employer.

The Labour Court’s Deputy Chairman Louise O’Donnell upheld a ruling by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and found that Imtiaz Ahmed Ranjha of Sky Solicitors did not pay Imtiaz Khan the national minimum wage.

Mr Khan told the Labour Court he worked 50 to 60 hours at the practice.

Ms O’Donnell has ordered Imtiaz Ahmed Ranjha in the style and practice of Sky Solicitors to pay arrears of €22,439 after finding Mr Khan was underpaid that amount by his former employer.

As part of his case under the National Minimum Wages Act 2000, Mr Khan told the Labour Court he emailed his then employer on October 22, 2018 and pointed out that he had not been paid for six months’ work and that some months he was only paid the equivalent of €5 an hour.

He requested that all outstanding wages be paid to him.

Mr Khan provided to the Labour Court a table showing the hours he had worked each month, the amount he was paid and the shortfall.

In her findings rejecting Mr Ranjha’s/Sky Solicitor’s appeal of the WRC ruling, Ms O’Donnell stated the Labour Court accepted the information ­submitted by Mr Khan.

Mr Khan stated that after lectures, he would go to the office and work late into the evening and, at times, at weekends.

A witness for Sky Solicitors said Mr Khan worked only 22 hours a week, but Ms O’Donnell stated that she preferred the evidence of Mr Khan that he was working on average 50 to 60 hours inclusive of his hours at lectures.

Ms O’Donnell said Mr Ranjha had confirmed that he had not kept records of Mr Khan’s hours or rate of pay.

Sky Solicitors told the Labour Court that the court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the claim as Mr Khan was not an employee.

However, if he had been an employee his employment ended on August 31, 2018 and, therefore, his claim was out of time.

This was rejected by the Labour Court.

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