Allen v Hounga 2011 UKEAT/0326/10/3103

Ms Hounga was Nigerian and was brought to the UK by the Respondents, a husband and wife to work for them in domestic service.  She came on a 6 month visa but after it expired in July 2007 she remained in the country illegally.  She was paid only £50 a month and subjected to harsh treatment by the Respondents.  She was dismissed in unacceptable circumstances.  Because her contract of employment was tainted with illegality she could not succeed in her claims for unfair dismissal, breach of contract, unpaid wages and holiday pay.  Although she was successful in her unlawful race discrimination claim and was entitled to compensation of £6,000 for injury to feelings together with some interest,  as she had knowingly participated in the illegality of her position, by intentionally overstaying, her other claims failed. 

Key point:  An employee working under an illegal contact may be prevented from relying on her or his contractual and statutory employment rights if he or she is a party to this dishonesty.