Press release

Recruitment company director fined and ordered to pay compensation for employment law breaches

Stephen Paul Harvey, aged 63 of London N10, a company director, has been fined a total of £16,000 and ordered to pay £16,979.38 towards prosecution costs following a hearing at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.

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Mr Harvey was also disqualified from being a director of a company for 2 years. Mr Harvey’s conviction follows a full criminal investigation and Prosecution by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy upon a referral by Companies House.

Mr Harvey pleaded guilty to 8 charges contrary to the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003. This legislation is enforced by the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate.

Prior to the hearing Mr Harvey made arrangements to pay compensation voluntarily.

The offending related to the operation by Mr Harvey of two companies, one incorporated in England and Wales and the other in Malta, which were both called Whites Recruitment International Ltd. which then led to considerable confusion.

One or other or both companies operated as employment businesses which sent a number of civil engineers and quantity surveyors to work on a project constructing universities in Libya. Of the eight charges four related to the failure to provide four workers with the necessary paperwork in relation to their employer and the terms their employment.

The other four charges related the withholding from them of wages totalling €25,905.60 being their final month’s pay even though the company through which they were paid had the means to pay. Three of them were not paid when their contracts came to an abrupt end when Colonel Gaddafi’s government was overthrown in February 2011. The fourth had resigned in December 2010.

Deputy Chief Investigation Officer, Ian West from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said:

This is a case where Mr Harvey took action that ensured that his employment business failed to comply with the regulations that govern the industry causing significant confusion and financial losses to four of its clients. This conduct is not acceptable and such breaches will be investigated and prosecuted with the full force of the law which is likely, as in this case, to attract substantial financial penalties which should serve as a warning to others that the Employment Regulations are not to be flouted.

Notes to editors

Mr Stephen Paul Harvey’s date of birth is December 1952.

Whites Recruitment International Ltd (CRO No. 06893216) was incorporated on 30 April 2009.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has responsibility for various regulatory matters including the regulation of employment agencies and employment businesses, companies and the Register of Companies and insolvency.

The Employment Agency Standards (EAS) inspectorate is part of BEIS and enforces the Employment Agencies Act 1973 and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003.

Agencies that break the law could face prosecution and be subject to unlimited fines for the most serious offences. Rogue agencies could also be banned from operating for up to 10 years.

Guidance and further information about the requirements for employment agencies is available.

Anyone who wishes to make a complaint about the conduct of an employment agency or seek further information can telephone Acas 0300 123 1100 or email eas@bis.gsi.gov.uk.

The EAS produces a list of prohibited people who have been banned from running an employment agency or business due to misconduct or unsuitability.

BEIS’ mission is to build a Dynamic and Competitive UK economy, in particular by creating the conditions for business success and promoting an open global economy. The Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions team contributes to this aim by taking action to deter fraud and to regulate the market. We investigate and prosecute a range of offences, primarily relating to personal or company insolvencies. Further information about the work of the Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions team is available.

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Published 25 November 2016