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How will your name be associated in the public eye? I doubt the case will make headlines. Unless they're very stupid, they wouldn't put it out online not only for possibility of even more legal trouble but it highlights what they did to you and that'd screw them, too.
It may be possible to get a lawyer on contingency (?) or even use government agencies assigned to protect employee rights. Depends upon what's available where you live.
LOL calm down guy, this is the real world, not LA Law Before you "sue" anyone you have to establish they have done something wrong. While we can all agree the OP's employer is morally wrong and a POS, neither of those are in breach of any laws thus neither are actionable in court or anywhere else. He had no contract so is bound only by statutory terms, and one of those terms, in UK law, is that you only get a notice period after working a month. He hadn't worked a month so doesn't gain that which means he can be terminated without notice. If they were making him redundant rather than firing him redundancy rights only really come in after two years, before that you have very few rights. In the UK if you have only worked less than a month and have no written contract the only legal right you have is to be paid for the days you worked, which he was. So I don't quite know what you think he is going to go to court about and have a jury trial over...something only reserved for the most serious of cases due to costs. Likewise punitive damages? Something else very very rarely awarded by any court in the UK, you only get your actual damages which in the OP's case is £0 as he was paid for the work he did and he got his property back.
Does UK law allow for fraud as an actionable offense? In hindsight, circumstances are pretty clear that he was hired as a permanent employee but was from the get-go treated like a transient. This show premeditation and thus fraudulent hiring practices. His pay should be, at the least, that of a hired contractor/trouble shooter - at the least - since that is in fact how he was treated.
Few states in the USA have what are termed "wrongful dismissal" laws. When one is ill treated then one simply finds alternative descriptions of the events and pursues them. Unlike LA Law (I've never seen it but perhaps you are a devoted fan?) much of the legal systems actual caseload in based on expansion of an event to as many manifestations of being wrongs as possible.
Fraud is a criminal offence, a serious one that is hard to prove and incredibly expensive to prosecute. So expensive and so hard to prove that the police rarely chase fraud cases unless the losses are 6 or 7 figures. If the police prosecuted companies for fraud because they dismissed an employee after a week the court system would be bankrupt overnight. Furthermore if, as an employer, you could be taken to court and jailed for up to 10 years because you dismissed an employee after a week then no-one would start a business ever.
In the UK the police will never entertain anything that could be covered by civil law, and employment matters are civil ones so you can forget all criminal charges. Yes we do have wrongful dismissal laws but again you need to have worked for two years to gain those protections. Employment law needs give and take, employers need to be able to dismiss employees, especially early in employment if they turn out to be unsuitable for the job (think a McDonalds employee who constantly phones in sick or does very little work when actually on the premises) so the laws allow them to do that. Unfortunately that also means that unscrupulous employers can take advantage of those laws too, but the system is how it is, no set of laws are perfect.
Amen to that - at least until I am running things.
The US has a number of agencies to protect employees who would otherwise be helplessly exploited. Admittedly, it can protect a bad employee - but that's taken into consideration by having a history and opportunity to correct the employee having been taken. Employers love to mess with benefits - even statutory ones - and these are civil cases.
Actually, my elder daughter was involved in this kind of law (one of two kids who turned to the dark side and became lawyers). My daughter-in-law is actually on the corporate side of these. I have a feeling, in the latter case, that is what makes her more liberal than I: she see's the sleaze in action. Perhaps to atone.
But, this is all US law - I cannot debate you on the whys and wherefores of the UK system.
Let's both, instead, be glad we don't live in France.
You should check your contract to see if you have a notice period, if you do you should be paid for that period. However the fact that they said your skill set is no longer required makes me think they're actually making you (or your position to be more accurate) redundant, which is also sketchy af but not much you can do about it.
As this was such a 'rush' they didn't send me a contract over the weekend as I was told they would, phone calls were made, I was working at the Global Development Center according to web site, in fact Two men in a shed! There was no one higher I could talk to.