Site manager wins payout over 70-hour weeks

Grant Prior 9 months ago

A site manager at Ogilvie Construction has won a tribunal payout after being forced to work 70-hour weeks.

David Brown raised concerns about his working hours with bosses on several occasions but nothing was done to reduce his time on site.

The firm also claimed to have demoted Brown, of Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, to the position of general foreman in a bid to allay his concerns, but his workload was never reduced despite his pay being cut.

The manager, who had 28 years’ service with the firm, eventually resigned in October 2014 due to his long working hours before taking his case to an employment tribunal claiming constructive dismissal.

Employment judge Paul Cape found in his favour, saying the time he spent at work was “excessive” and awarded him a total of £14,031.

In a written judgment seen by the Herald Scotland , Judge Cape stated: “I conclude that Ogilvie Construction imposed burdens of work on Mr Brown that required that he work excessive hours week in, week out, over an extended period despite his protestations and that so excessive were those burdens that they amounted to a fundamental breach of contract.

“Further that breach was aggravated by the failure to reply in writing to Mr Brown’s emails raising the issue, and by the respondent purporting to restore the claimant to the position and remuneration package of a general foreman whilst doing nothing to match the claimant’s workload to that which could reasonably be required of a general foreman.”

The tribunal heard that between June and October 2014, Brown did no work less than 53 hours a week and worked more than 70 hours in seven of those weeks

During that time, the worker wrote to bosses raising concerns about his hours and asking for a site foreman to be put in place to help with his workload, but he received no reply.

A site foreman was eventually appointed at the site, but Brown continued to have to work excessive hours.

Judge Cape said Ogilvie could not escape the fact that they were well aware of Brown’s hours as his time sheets were seen by his line manager.

He added that, while Brown’s contract required him to work extra hours in order to complete building projects, this “must be qualified by the word ‘reasonably'”.

Ogilvie Construction did not respond to The Herald’s request for a comment.

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