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Formula 1 team faces legal action following staff dismissal

Caterham team accused of running 'roughshod' and unfairly dismissing its employees

28 July 2014

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Close to 50 former Caterham F1 employees who lost their jobs earlier this month are to take legal action against the Formula 1 team, according to their solicitor.

The former members of the grand prix team allege that they were dismissed without consultation in breach of employment law and are claiming breach of contract and unfair dismissal.

Following the sale of the motor racing team by Tony Fernandes to a group of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors, Caterham's new owners have been searching for ways to make costs savings and make the team more financially viable.

Chris Felton, a partner at Gardner Leader, who is representing the claimants said: "The employees concerned were dismissed without consultation or warning, either in person or on the telephone. They have not been paid for July or offered any further payments in accordance with their contract or their employment rights.

"The fact that they are not being told anything at all by Caterham is concerning. Running roughshod over employees' rights is not usual behaviour in Formula 1 where, although difficult decisions are sometimes made about appointments, employees are always adequately compensated and usually treated with dignity by their teams."

Felton continued: "We would not expect any former Caterham employee to be prejudiced for standing up for their rights when they have been unfairly dismissed with no pay for July, no future earnings and families to support. The FIA expect certain standards from its F1 teams and it is these standards we are asking them to uphold and provide assurances that the new owners of Caterham are seen as fit and proper."

The former employees are understood to be petitioning the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) to fully investigate the F1 team's conduct and the circumstances in relation to its recent change of ownership.

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