Charity tries to suspend a bailiff's order over money owed to former employee

A former cleaner raised the order after the Manor Residents Association failed to pay her nearly £9,000 awarded by an employment tribunal

Manor Residents Association
Manor Residents Association

A local residents charity is attempting to suspend a bailiff’s order raised by one of its former employees who is owed almost £9,000 from an employment tribunal claim.

Manor Residents Association, which provides courses, advice and children’s services in Hartlepool, County Durham, has applied to Hartlepool County Court to apply for a suspension of a bailiff’s order raised by its former cleaner, Lynda Gooding.

Gooding, who raised the bailiff’s order after the charity failed to pay her nearly £9,000 awarded by an employment tribunal, said a 10-minute hearing was due to take place today.

In April the charity was ordered by an employment tribunal at Teesside Magistrates' Court in Middlesbrough to pay Gooding £8,800 after it failed to pay her the minimum wage and repeatedly did not pay her on time.

Gooding said that after she was not paid by the charity on time she appealed to the county court in July to enforce the order. The charity was then given until 2 August to pay her.

She said the charity failed to pay and on 6 August she paid £100 for a warrant of execution, which would send bailiffs to retrieve the owed amount from the charity.

But Manor Residents Association has appealed for a suspension of the order, Gooding said, so that it could complete a company voluntary arrangement – an arrangement that allows limited companies to pay creditors over a fixed period through an insolvency agent.

However, Angela Wilcox, manager of the Manor Residents Association, said the suspensions did not relate to a CVA but it had been requested because Manor Residents Association could not pay the money it owed to Gooding out of charity funds. "We can’t take money from a project," she said.

The charity had therefore followed Charity Commission guidelines and appointed the insolvency practitioner Absolute Recovery to deal with the debt, Wilcox said.

Asked whether Absolute Recovery was dealing with the charity’s debt to Gooding, Wilcox said: "Not at the moment."

A spokesman for Absolute Recovery said it was working with a limited company connected to the charity, called Manor Residents Community Resource Centre, but not with Manor Residents Association. He said that if Absolute Recovery did deal with the charity in the future it would work within the Charity Commission’s guidelines.

A spokeswoman for the commission said the regulator was monitoring the situation and the charity’s trustees. "It is important that we take these developments into account alongside the information we have received from the trustees before we establish what, if any, regulatory action we should take," she said.

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