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Purplebricks faces more action over unfair dismissals and pay deductions

Troubled agency Purplebricks is set to face further litigation from the group which is already preparing to bring a class action against it, with Contractors for Justice (C4J) saying they have become aware of alleged abuses surrounding ‘unlawful’ deductions from pay and cases of unfair dismissal.

It was first revealed back in October last year that Purplebricks and other online/hybrid agencies – but primarily Purplebricks – would be facing legal action from former agents over holiday and pension pay. It was a story that had a lot of parallels with the fight from Uber drivers for better workers’ rights and others in the so-called gig economy seeking equivalence with those who are fully employed.

The most recent update until now had been in April this year, when lawyers working on the class action said they would be ready to send a letter before action in a matter of weeks. But nothing had been heard about this since.


Now C4J has exclusively told Estate Agent Today the reasons for this hold-up.

“Since April, and as a result of information supplied by potential claimants, we at C4J have become aware of other abuses in the form of unlawful deductions taken from workers’ pay,” Aidan Loy, the group’s Legal Director, told EAT.

In some cases, the pressure group claims, these amount to thousands of pounds per month.

“Although this is potentially good news – especially for successful claimants – it has required another major information gathering exercise. As part of this, Data Subject Access Requests have been sent to Purplebricks, due returnable in a few days on August 19,” Loy explained.

“This information will allow an accurate re-calculation of all claims. It appears that in many cases these additional claims will approximate to around 50% again of the original estimate. Once this is done, we’ll pursue the Group Litigation, which would be prefaced by a Letter Before Claim.”

Meanwhile, in May and June this year, it was revealed that Purplebricks had dismissed dozens of staff – C4J puts it at around 50 - for supposedly poor performance and failing to meet their sales targets. Some had received less than an hour’s notice.

The agency said it was able to dismiss agents without a notice because none of them had been employed for more than two years, and therefore full employment rights had not yet been triggered.

C4J has rejected the claims that the dismissals were down to poor performances. “Cases we have examined do not support this,” Loy claimed. “And in every case we have seen the ‘process’ followed was severely defective and manifestly unfair. As a result, we have this week issued Employment Tribunal proceedings on behalf of dismissed staff for unfair dismissal.”

He added: “No doubt the issue of employment status will be forefront in the Tribunal’s mind, and it is therefore likely that these new cases, brought swiftly to a decision on employee status at a preliminary hearing, may resolve the entire issue in respect of Purplebricks.”

A Purplebricks spokesperson strongly rejected the new claims, telling EAT: “These accusations from Contractors for Justice are entirely spurious and totally unfounded."

“Purplebricks takes very seriously its responsibilities to people working in the business and we are confident that there were no unlawful deductions from individuals’ pay. We have received no complaints about such an issue.

“We are confident that the recent performance management process followed all the correct procedures and was in accordance with the contracts of the individuals involved.”

  • Charlie Lamdin

    Was there ever another company in this industry that took so much money from so many people so unfairly?

  • Samantha Sullivan

    There is no way PB will provide an accurate account of invoices. They always sent wrong ones out with unlawful deductions, hence the need for an additional invoice to be sent to them, which had to be cross checked. Why did some have to pay recruitment fees and others didn't? Rules for one and not the other.

  • icon

    True to form!


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