£14k awarded to construction manager forced to work 70-hour weeks

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A payout has been awarded to a construction manager at one of the nation’s top firms after he was forced to work 70-hour weeks…

Construction worker David Brown has won his case against his former employer after he was forced to work unacceptable hours.

Brown, who worked as a site manager for Ogilvie Construction, was awarded £14,000 at a tribunal against the firm.

Brown said he had raised concerns with his bosses on several different occasions, yet nothing was done to reduce his hours.

Between June and October 2014, he reportedly worked no less than 53 hours a week and worked more than 70 during seven of those weeks.

During this time, Brown raised concerns with management, asking for a site foreman to help with his workload. However, he received no response. Eventually, a site foreman was employed at the site, but Brown continued to work excessive hours.

Brown was eventually demoted, but despite taking a pay cut his workload did not reduce.

The case was brought to an employment tribunal, claiming constructive dismissal after Brown resigned in October 2014. Brown had worked for 28 years with the firm at the time he left.

Paul Cape, employment judge, said the time Brown spent at work was “excessive” and awarded him £14,031.

In a written judgment, 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.”

Judge Cape said Ogilvie could not plead ignorance on the hours Brown was working, as his time sheets were seen by his line manager.

He also said that although Brown’s contract called for him to work extra hours to complete projects, this “must be qualified by the word ‘reasonably'”.

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