Black Dog staff awarded compensation after mass redundancies

Black Dog staff awarded compensation after mass redundancies

Employees of the recently liquidated company Black Dog Publishing are to be awarded compensation for the company's "failure to consult" staff before their dismissal.

The Islington-based company, which was founded in 1993 by director Duncan McCorquodale, went into liquidation in January and its 22 employees were made redundant.

Several members of staff at the publisher, who did not want to be named, earlier told The Bookseller the firm had struggled to pay employees on time since spring 2017, with wages being paid late for several months during 2017.

At the time of liquidation, the company owed £784,445 to creditors including the 22 employeees who were owed more than a month's wages. This was later paid by the insolvency company appointed to deal with the liquidation, Leonard Curtis.

However, after mounting an appeal at an employment tribunal following the mass redundancy, the court ruled that the employees were also entitled to 90 days of salary as an award for the company's failure to consult them before they were let go.

A former member of staff, who did not wish to be named, told The Bookseller: “We had no help or knowledge of law, but talking to the different government services, we came to understand we could actually make a claim for free. It’s a shame that a lot of redundant employees in the same situation don’t know these kind of laws and miss the opportunity to claim their rights.”

Liquidator Leonard Curtis is now in charge of most of the assets of the company and is required to pay all 22 awards. 

The employee said: “We are [within] our rights and we will fight for them now that we are more familiar with employment law. Not only for the money – which could help everybody, especially some staff members who are still unemployed – but because the whole story was so unfair to all.”

A spokesperson for the liquidator said: "Leonard Curtis can confirm that the employees have been granted a 90 day protective award against the Company by the Employment Tribunal for its failure to consult over the multiple redundancies. It will be an unsecured claim in the liquidation and subject to any dividend payments (should one become payable)."

The assets of Black Dog Publishing and sister company Artifice Books were bought by St James’s House Media Group a month after the liquidation.

The liquidators said they had been able to sell the assets of the companies "shortly after being appointed" on 24th January due to Black Dog Publishing and Artifice Books' "solid reputations within the industry".