Agency director ordered to pay back workers after pleading guilty to withholding wages

30 August 2018

Nicholas Brown the former director of Cotterell and Gifford employment agency pleaded guilty to 4 charges including withholding wages and failing to give information to workers. He has been ordered to pay wages and expenses totalling £5,145 at a hearing at Bristol Magistrates’ Court. He has also been disqualified from being a director for 5 years.

The prosecution comes after the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (a government body that enforces rights on behalf of agency workers) launched an investigation based on a worker complaint.

The government’s response to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices included a consultation to enhance and protect the rights for Agency Workers. Recommendations included:

  • Provide all 1.2 million agency workers with a clear breakdown of who pays them and any costs or charges deducted from their wages

  • Consider repealing laws allowing agencies to employ workers on cheaper rates

  • Enforce vulnerable workers’ holiday and sick pay for the first time

  • Give workers a list of day-one rights including holiday and sick pay entitlements

  • Introduce a new right for all workers to request a more stable contract to provide greater financial security for those on flexible contracts

  • Introduce a new naming scheme for employers who fail to pay employment tribunal awards to quadruple employment tribunal fines for employers showing malice, spite or gross oversight to £20,000 and considering increasing penalties for employers who have previously lost similar cases


Anyone with a complaint or query about an employment agency or about the law applying to agencies should contact the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate by email at [email protected], by the online form on GOV.UK – or contact the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100.