Dad who worked as translator for GP patients fined £40 for taking sick
A dad has been fined £40 for taking a sick
day off work.
Father-of-four Ben Mbeva, 48, has worked for
AA Global since January interpreting for Swahili-speaking patients attending GP
appointments in Hull.
As part of his freelance contract, Mr Mbeva
is paid £15 per consultation he attends, which can last up to an hour, but is not
paid for his travel expenses.
According to Mr Mbeva, he was fined £40 for
taking a sick day and was asked for a doctor's note to explain his absence,
which he was unable to show.
"There have been constant mess ups with
my payments since I started working for AA Global as an interpreter at the
beginning of this year," said Mr Mbeva, who has lived in Hull since 2003.
"I've had to call them multiple times to
chase up what I'm owed, and there is no set day for when I get paid, making it
hard to budget.
"Most recently I was expecting a sum of
money for my interpreting, but when it came through it was a lot less than I
thought so I contacted them.
"But was told that I had been fined £40
for taking a sick day and missing an assignment, rather than just missing out
on my payment of £15.
"I couldn't believe it - they even asked
me for a sick note, which I could not provide as I'd only been ill for a day,
and you can only get a sick note from a GP when you've been off for more than
After getting the £40 docked, Mr Mbeva says
he decided to hand his notice in after claims he was already owed more than
£200 for the jobs he has done.
But when he did, the company said they would
fine him another £80 for the translation jobs he would be missing. AA Global
say the terms were in his contract when he signed it.
"I got really upset and told them if
that is the case then I no longer want to work with you, and just asked them to
send me the money I'm owed, which is around £200.
"But they then told me that if I handed
my notice in and didn't go to the other assignments I had booked in, I would be
fined £80 which would be deducted from my final pay packet along with the other
Now Mr Mbeva says he feels hurt the
situation. He originally took the extra job as he needed the money to support
his family and supplement his income as a night security guard, for which he
gets minimum wage.
"I feel used and disappointed about
what's happened - I haven't even been able to make hardly any money when I do
get paid as none of my fuel costs are covered, but I at least felt like I was
helping ill patients out at the GP who cannot express themselves to enable them
to get the right treatment by interpreting.
"This gave me happiness even though I
was losing out on money.
"But now to be told that I'm going to be
fined for something that isn't even my fault is just terrible and I've been
completely defrauded of my money and ripped off.
"My wife only works part-time and I'm on
minimum wage in my security job so was really counting on this extra income to
get by and support my four children, two of which live with me and are six and
two and a half years old.
"Now I don't know where to turn to in
order to get the money I'm owed".
AA Global say that they are looking into the
complaint made by Mr Mbeva but say he agreed to paying any penalties in his
A spokesman for the company said: "We
cannot discuss employment details of individual members of staff but we can
confirm that our policy for hourly rates, other payments and any penalties is
based on the industry standard and is more generous than many other service
A Rochdale company's appeal against a
landmark judgment which ruled in favour of global language service provider,
thebigword, has failed.
In October 2018, the courts awarded
substantial damages and costs after Language Empire was found guilty of
thebigword Group Limited provides specialised
language services to many of the top 100 global brands and government
organisations such as the Police, NHS Trusts and various large UK Government
Language Empire Ltd, based in Rochdale,
registered four domain names in 2010 similar to those of thebigword, offering
translation and interpreting in direct competition with thebigword therefore
suggesting they were connected with thebigword. The websites mimicked Linkup’s
keywords, copyright and logos over a number of years, generating online
enquiries, something which Linkup Mitaka’s legal representatives describe as
“just the tip of the iceberg.”
Language Empire and its managing director, Mr
Zaman, appealed against the judgement and the Rt Hon. Lord Justice Floyd in the
Court of Appeal has refused Language Empire’s appeal, stating, “quite apart
from giving dishonest evidence, Mr Zaman had gone to extreme lengths to hide
the extent of the infringement. This court would have no basis for interfering
with the judge’s factual conclusions.”
Lord Justice Floyd also said: “The judge was
faced with the difficult task of attempting to assess damages in the face of
the deliberate obfuscation of the applicants.”
Commenting on the decision, CEO of
thebigword, Nihat Arkan, said: “At thebigword we are proud of the work we do to
deliver the best-in-class language services to our clients.
“We are passionate professionals and truly
believe in the power of breaking down barriers to connect, inspire and educate.
thebigword cares greatly about our clients and their ambitions and collaborate
with them to support their goals and best interests.
“Unfortunately, not all companies in our
industry are able to reach these high standards. We are pleased with the
Judge’s decision and will continue to provide the respected service for which
we have become known.”
In the original decision the judge awarded
substantial damages and, in her findings, said the defendants had chosen to
“obfuscate and hide the true numbers of enquiries.”
The judge found that the defendant’s case
consisted of “a tangled mass of contradictions, inconsistencies, unlikelihoods,
implausibilities and untruths.”
In a landmark further ruling on legal costs,
the Judge said that the Defendant’s conduct was so exceptional as to amount to
an abuse of process, with the effect that the amount to be awarded to the
thebigword inclusive of interest amounts to nearly £250,000.