Caterham has announced it is responding to legal action from a group of former employees with a lawsuit of its own.
In a statement released on Tuesday the team said it “read with great concern recent reports about a group of individuals who are claiming unfair dismissal from the Formula One team following its takeover by new owners”.
“The team is now taking legal action against those parties representing the individuals concerned, and each person involved, seeking compensation for the damages suffered by the team due to the gross misrepresentation of the facts made by all those concerned,” it added.
Caterham denies several of the claims made by those bringing the case against them.
“These claims include the statement that they have been released from Caterham F1 Team – this is incorrect,” the statement explained. “Caterham F1 Team’s staff are employed by a company that is a supplier to the company that holds its F1 licence, the licence that allows it to compete in the Formula One world championship.”
“Additionally, the team has read claims that its staff were not paid in July – again, this is wholly untrue,” it noted. “Every individual currently employed by Caterham F1 Team was paid their July salary in full on 25th July, one week before it is formally due on the last day of the month, in this case 31st July.”
The team said it has requested “the withdrawal of the relevant press statement issued on 28th July” and said it will “vigorously pursue its action against all those concerned”.
Update: The former Caterham staff issued the following response on Wednesday:
“Reference the press statement released by Caterham F1 Team on 29 July 2014. As confirmed in the contracts of employment for those working in the Caterham F1 Team, Caterham F1 is ‘the trading name of the Employer and the name of its motor racing team entered into the F1 World Championship’. All those dismissed were employed in the Caterham F1 Team by their operational company Caterham Sports Limited (company number 07042086 previously 1Malaysia Racing Team (UK) Limited).
“The dismissal letters were on Caterham F1 Team headed notepaper and the reason for dismissal was given as ‘following the change in ownership and, as a result of the current financial position that the new owners have inherited, your position at Caterham Sports Ltd will terminate with immediate effect…You are being dismissed in law for Some Other Substantial Reason.’
“The Caterham F1 Team website confirms the change of ownership as at 2 July 2014. The summary dismissal of employees from Caterham was done without warning or consultation, which is a breach of employment laws and contract and will result in significant compensation claims.
“Regarding matters of pay, those dismissed on 15 July 2014 were advised in writing that they would be paid for 1-15 July. Unless the position has changed, we are informed that those we represent had not yet been paid either on what would have been the usual payroll date of 25 July, or by 28 July. It is understood those we represent who were dismissed on 24 July 2014 may also not yet have been paid for July. If those dismissed have now been paid that would obviously be very welcome.
“Lawyers for those who have been dismissed wrote to Caterham on 25 July 2014 urging a response to the above matters and inviting settlement either through ACAS or in face to face discussions. A response from Caterham to this letter is awaited.”
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Image © Caterham/LAT