Why employees should be careful what they sign!
A recent case was reported in the Mail on Sunday where an employee of a building company went to Brandon Tool Hire to hire a cement mixer on his employer’s behalf. He even used the company’s credit card for the deposit! However the company he worked for Weald 24 Limited, ceased trading and the cement mixer was never returned. As a result, Brandon Tool Hire is holding the employee responsible and has successfully sued him, winning a judgement for £3,022!
How can an employee be personally liable for his employer’s debts?
When the employee collected the mixer, he was asked for his driving licence and signed the Brandon dispatch note. The note, whilst not specifically labelled as any contract or agreement, did state that whoever signs it agrees to the terms and conditions small print on the back.
Brandon’s boss Tim Smith says that an employee would not be responsible “if the customer had a trade account” but how many employees would know whether their employer has a trade account or not.
In this case Brandon is still pursuing the ex employee for his employer’s liability.
I would suggest that anyone working and signing on behalf of an employer should be cautious and consider using a false name! I suspect that many building sites up and down the country will suddenly find that “John Smith” or “Mike Mouse” is signing for quite a lot of deliveries!
Anyone using Brandon Tool Hire should sign a false name, or at least sign “signed on behalf of the hirer ?????? Ltd, no contract or liability exists with signatory” to protect themselves if the employer does not pay the bill.