Hi – if anyone can help with this situation I’d be most grateful for any input.

An employee rented a flat from one of the directors of the business. This as a separate arrangement to her contract, it wasn’t included as part of any deal or anything, more that she needed a place to live and he had somewhere to rent.

The flat has always been in a bad state of repair and despite many requests the glazing was never done and the windows leaked, soaking the carpets – it wasn’t ideal and the employee decided eventually to move out. When she gave her notice of tenancy the director/landlord, who has no line management of the employee and rarely sets foot in the store, simply said; "that’ll cost you."

He kept her deposit and demanded extra payment for cleaning, replacing the carpet and windows. However she felt this was reasonable wear and tear considering the poor state it was in to begin with and the complete lack of attention by the landlord. She has gone to CAB for advice on this who advised she wrote a letter stating she would not pay the extra he was demanding. This has been going on for a while, and the landlord/director has made it clear these are separate enterprises. The main reason she is refusing to pay is not only is it unfair but she can’t afford it. He has offered to take it out of her wages, again as they are separate I think this must be illegal or at least unethical.

When she reported for work this week she was taken into the office by another of the directors who seemed shaken – she told the employee she was suspended following a breakdown in relationship. When asked if the employee had done anythign wrong, the director said no, but she had been ordered to suspend her (on pay). The director who told her she was suspended is very upset as are the rest of the staff by this as they all value her as an employee and colleague.

What is likely to happen next? If the employee resigns now is it constructive dismissal? If they sack her is it unfair? Is this legal and what would you do?

Any light shed on this would make a huge difference. Thanks for reading.