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Wife sues husband over unpaid wages

BY Gerry O'Hare
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

The Aberdeen employment tribunal has recently had to wrestle with a somewhat unusual set of circumstances when a wife sued her husband for reneging on an agreement to pay her £3000 a month to manage his dental surgery.


The Claimant originally agreed to work unpaid for a year in the surgery to prove to her husband, a partner in the surgery, that she was good at the job. After the year was up, her husband agreed to employ her full-time at £1500 a month. The Claimant however alleged that she had been promised by her husband a wage of £3000 a month to carry out the work; a figure that was "many times higher" than the average wage for a practice manager in Scotland. The husband maintained that the original wage offer had been made tongue in cheek. A clearly unhappy wife then resigned and claimed unfair dismissal.

The Claimant lost her case on a technicality - she was found not to have the requisite year's service.

Notwithstanding the court room battle, both husband and wife insisted that they remained happily married. Indeed, the Clamant was at pains to point out that her husband backed her all the way in taking action against him to the extent of paying her legal fees!


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