Ex-AutoRestore staff to take legal action over dent repairer’s redundancy process

The firm had suffered during the pandemic

Staff affected by the collapse of the Northants-based scratch and dent repair business AutoRestore have contacted lawyers amidst allegations that they were allegedly not properly consulted before they were made redundant earlier this month.

While the company website is still live, law firm Simpson Millar says it has been contacted by a number of former employees who claim they arrived at work one day only to be told their contracts had been terminated and their jobs had been lost.

Simpson Millar says that some angry ex-staff also say that they were told that they would not be paid for work already carried out.

As we reported yesterday scores of staff have been affected by the collapse of what had been one of the UK’s leading providers of mobile body repair services.

Law firm Simpson Millar’s specialist employment team says it has has now begun investigations into whether a Protective Award can be secured for those affected, working on behalf of a number of people who had been based at the company’s headquarters in Rushden, Northamptonshire.

The firm has since launched an eligibility checker so that people can see if they are eligible to make a claim. Where an Employment Tribunal finds in the favour of the employees, they will be able to access the funds of up to £4,568 via the Government Insolvency Service.

Simpson Millar has also urged others who have been affected to get in touch if they too would like to be involved in the legal action, as ex-employees have just three months less one day from when they were made redundant to make a claim.

Anita North, an employment law expert at Simpson Millar, said: “It is very upsetting to learn of the collapse of yet another business. News that will no doubt have come as a real shock to its many employees, who will no doubt be very concerned about their immediate future and job prospects.

“We have since spoken to a number of people who have been directly affected as a result of job losses at the company’s Northamptonshire headquarters, and we are in the early stages of investigating whether more should have done to consult with staff.

“If anyone else would also like to speak to us about pursuing a protective award we would urge them to reach out soon as there is a limited window of opportunity to file a claim.”

North added: “Regardless of whether a company is struggling financially, it does have a duty under current employment law legislation to carry out a proper consultation with staff at risk of redundancy. Where that does not happen, employees can bring a claim for a Protective Award.”

According to Simpson Millar, a Protective Award is a payment awarded by an Employment Tribunal in cases where an employer fails to follow the correct procedure when making 20 or more redundancies and, where an Employment Tribunal finds in the favour of the employees, they will be able to access the funds via the Government Insolvency Service.

North said: “When people are made redundant they are understandably very concerned about finances, and for those affected by the collapse of AutoRestore is causing additional worry due to the rising costs of living.

“Sadly, in some cases, that will mean that people need to take measures such as applying for universal credit and mortgage holidays in order to be able to survive financially.

“While the process to claim for a Protective Award will not result in an influx of cash immediately, legal protection remains in place to support people who are made redundant without being taken through the correct consultation process, and the money recovered in successful claims will provide some longer-term security for those affected.”