Following a ruling at Hull Employment Tribunal, it seems no-one is left out in the cold when it comes to employment law.

Normally residing in the North Pole, Santa’s Elves have been forced to take legal action following a brief sabbatical at the Princes Quay Shopping Centre in Hull.

Determined to deliver presents and add to the Christmas cheer, elves were drafted into work for Santa’s Stable grotto, run by UK Grotto Hire Ltd.

With grottos up and down the country, the firm had persuaded elves to take a break from their usual tasks of building and wrapping presents, to help deliver them at shopping centres up and down the country.

Working alongside Father Christmas himself, the elves successfully entertained children, families and shoppers in the run-up to the festive season.

Due to return to the North Pole, the elves had been told they’d receive payment for their services on 10 January 2019. However, when no payment appeared, the elves were told they would receive their wages on 31 January.

Unfortunately for Santa’s helpers, the ‘Grinch who stole Christmas’ seemed intent on hanging on to their wages too.

Elves Fight For Justice

According to Managing Director, Tony Jennings, UK Grotto Hire Ltd simply didn’t have the funds to reward the elves for their hard work and would be going into liquidation.

While this meant an inevitable delay for the elves, once the company had been declared insolvent, they would have been able to claim for their wages via the insolvency fund.

However, this wasn’t the end of the saga for the elves. When appointed liquidators were unable to act due to a lack of funds in the company’s estate, UK Grotto Hire Ltd technically remained active, meaning the hardworking elves were unable to make a claim for their well-deserved wages.

With no recourse to the insolvency funds, four of the elves were forced to take the matter up at Hull Employment Tribunal.

Triumph For Santa’s Helpers

Having heard the details of the case, Employment Judge Buckley found in favour of the elves and awarded them their claims in full.

Despite their success, the four elves didn’t want their names to be made public, presumably following strict instructions and a confidentiality clause from Father Christmas.

While the elves have been awarded their claims by the Hull Employment Tribunal, this may not mean the end of the case.

Should UK Grotto Hire UK Ltd fail to pay the elves, following the ruling at the Employment Tribunal, they will need to decide whether or not to issue a further claim.

Although the Employment Tribunal can’t enforce payments, even for elves, the Small Claims Court may be able to provide an appropriate solution. As UK Grotto Hire Ltd has been shown to owe each of the four elves their wages in full, a Small Claims Court could provide payment enforcement options.

With the elves eager to get back to the North Pole to begin preparing for this year’s festive season, only time will tell whether they receive their payments or whether they’ll be another epic Christmas battle being played out in the courts.

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About the author 

James Rowland

James is the Commercial Director at Neathouse Partners and regularly writes articles surrounding issues in HR & Employment Law. Outside of the office, James is a keen Cricketer, playing in the Cheshire League for Nantwich CC. He also loves going to watch his football team, Crewe Alexandra. Feel free to connect with James on LinkedIn.

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