Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct faces million-pound claim over bonus scheme which excluded zero-hour contracted staff

Lynsey Barber
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Sports Direct's bonus scheme faces claims by staff (Source: Getty)

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct faces legal claims over its bonus scheme from hundreds of staff working at its stores which could run into millions of pounds.

Nearly 300 workers on zero-hours contracts were excluded from a bonus scheme which gave around 2,000 staff who were permanently employed a windfall share of £160m worth of shares in 2013.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the part-time staff have now sent letters to Sports Direct’s legal team claiming an initial £1m compensation for around 30 workers for missed bonuses, the Guardian reports.

Further letters will be sent regarding the claims of another 268 workers in due course.

The total compensation claim amounts to £1m for the first 30 staff, averaging around £36,000 each, but one claim is as high as £100,000. Based on that average amount, the costs could amount to nearly £10m for all 298 employees claims.

The letters are the first step in action against Sports Direct, which could lead to the courts if an agreement can’t be reached between the staff and company.

In October Sports Direct, which employs around 20,000 staff, was forced to clarify parts of its zero-hours contracts as part of a wide-ranging set of legally-binding promises agreed after an employee took legal action against the retailer.

Leigh Day, the law firm representing the new claims, represented the employee who took the legal action which resulted in the changes. Sports Direct denied any wrong-doing and admitted no liability when making the settlement out of court.

Further bonuses are due to be handed out to around 3,000 staff over the next two years through a long-term share scheme agreed by shareholders last July.

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