By Claire West

The Director of a recruitment firm supplying rail workers has been banned from running an employment agency for seven years following action taken by the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate (EAS).

The hearing at Norwich Employment Tribunal follows an investigation by the EAS, which is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Tribunal heard how Christine Lewiss, from Trimmingham near Norwich, withheld wages from workers totalling over £11,000. The offences were committed by two companies she operated, Rail Recruit UK Ltd and Rail Recruit UK Projects Ltd.

The Tribunal banned Ms Lewiss from running or being concerned with the running of an employment agency or employment business for seven years.

EAS brought the case having successfully prosecuted Ms Lewiss in June 2009 at Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court. This resulted in her being ordered to pay back withheld wages as well as £1,000 costs.

Edward Davey, the Minister responsible for employment relations, said:

“This verdict should act as a warning signal to agencies who exploit their workers. We will take action against rogue recruiters in Norfolk, and across the country, who flout the law and undermine the vast majority of agencies who play fairly”.

EAS brought this case under the Employment Agencies Act 1973.