A NORTH-EAST car dealership ordered to pay a former employee thousands of pounds after being found guilty of racial discrimination has refused to pay amid allegations of missing money.
Senior management at Sherwoods Motor Group said they accept the company was ordered to pay Nathan Haslam £8,000 at an employment tribunal, but will not make the payment until a dispute over £12,500 they claim Mr Haslam owes the company is resolved.
In a statement released through solicitors, Sherwoods’ managing director Alasdair MacConachie said the company was taking its own action through the civil courts to recover £12,500 it claims went missing in a series of ‘cash discrepancies’ involving Mr Haslam during his employment.
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Mr Haslam, from Stokesley, North Yorkshire, has described the allegations that he owes the company money as a ‘fabrication’ and has made steps to enforce the employment tribunal ruling through the civil courts and recover the outstanding award.
The employment tribunal, held at Teesside Magistrates’ Court last month, ruled that Mr Haslam was subjected to racial language by general manager Christopher Shutt while working at the company’s Stockton branch.
The tribunal heard that Mr Haslam was investigated by Cleveland Police in relation to discrepancies involving transactions with customers, but the case was dropped when no evidence was offered at Teesside Crown Court.
The Northern Echo understands that Cleveland Police has now agreed to review the evidence in relation to the allegations.
Mr Haslam, 31, has insisted that he has nothing to do with the money Sherwoods claim is missing, and argued that the money awarded by the tribunal is a separate matter.
He said that he is prepared to return to the employment tribunal to raise a claim for aggravated damages and victimisation if he does not receive the outstanding award.
He said: “They were found guilty of racial discrimination. Mr MacConachie went on the record as saying that he accepted the judgement.
“I’ve been co-operating with their solicitors and then on Friday they turned round and said they wouldn’t be paying.
“The allegations that I stole from them have been to crown court and all charges were dropped because there was no evidence. They’ve been told repeatedly that if they want to try to reclaim any money then they have to do it through the civil court.
“They have a judgement saying that they have to pay me £8,000 for racial harassment but they will not pay.
“They have been found guilty, which I never have been. It’s all a bit farcical.”
In response, Sherwoods released a statement, saying: “It is correct to say that the judgement of £8,000 due to Mr Haslam has not been paid.
“Sherwoods have made it clear to Mr Haslam that it accepts the sum is payable but that it will set off the £8,000 against the £12,500 which, it believes, it is owed.
“It will not make the payment to Mr Haslam until the issue of the £12,500 is resolved, if necessary, through the courts.
“The employment tribunal went out of its way to make it clear that it was making no findings in relation to the missing money. They made it clear that recovery by the company was a matter for the civil courts.
“That is precisely the route that Sherwoods decided to take. They have demanded repayment from Mr Haslam of the sum of £12,563. Mr Haslam has not paid that sum.”