Illegal Worker Honey Trap

The recent case of Nayak v Royal Mail established what employers should do if they think an employee doesn’t have the right to work in the UK. This month Byron Burger attracted heavy criticism using a training session as a ruse to dupe kitchen staff into a UK Border Force trap. This resulted in the arrest of 35 Byron Burger employees.

Before employing these kitchen workers Byron should have done document checks to ensure the employee had the right to work in the UK. If this had been done Byron could have dismissed the employee if they reasonably believed they didn’t have the right to work in the UK as per the judgement in Nayak.

Byron also needs to be careful about race discrimination claims, which have no cap on compensation awards. We recently covered a modern slavery case which established discriminating against someone on the grounds of their nationality is unlawful, however their immigration status is not.

Illegality could be a defence to any race discrimination claims but the High Court case of Hounga v Allen held that in extreme circumstances of mistreatment or abuse, illegality will not bar the Claimant from bringing a claim. That case involved incidents of physical abuse so may, or may not apply.

Finally such behaviour by an employer has lasting reputational damage. Both staff and customers will now feel less trustful of Byron and this could have a significant impact on sales and recruitment.