Case Studies

Case Studies

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Accused of theft but innocent

Published 19 December 2017

To be labelled a liar and thief by your employer and urged to resign rather than be sacked is probably as bad as it can get for an employee.

This is exactly the position Ged found himself in before he contacted Castle Associates for help.

Fortunately for the catering assistant from Newcastle our representative was able to ensure there was a happy ending.

Ged attended a disciplinary hearing accused of stealing money from the till in the staff canteen where he worked.

The evidence against him included CCTV footage, statements from a colleague who said Ged pocketed some money after closing the till and a security guard who searched Ged and found £2.50 in his uniform pocket. Ged was suspended on full pay.

New company policy meant staff cannot carry money with them while working. It was introduced in response to money going missing from the tills.

At an investigation meeting Ged explained the money was for the Lottery syndicate of which he was a member. The colleague who ran the syndicate confirmed that Ged did in fact owe £2.50, but that it was not due to be paid until the following week.

The company felt that this, along with the CCTV footage, the breach of policy and witness statements was enough evidence to instigate disciplinary action.

The supervisor who conducted the investigation accused Ged of lying and later advised him to resign because he was going to be dismissed. Ged who had worked for the company for four years strongly protested his innocence and stated that if he was sacked it would be an unfair dismissal.

When our representative reviewed the case he found there was no evidence to confirm that the till had money missing when it was cashed up. He also established the policy in relation to staff carrying money was a new one, which had only been communicated verbally at a meeting two weeks before the incident.

At the hearing the CCTV footage, which had been reviewed by our representative prior to the meeting, was played. The film showed Ged from behind walking away from the till and appearing to put his hand in his left trouser pocket.

Our representative referred to the security guard’s statement, which confirmed that when he searched Ged a short time later he found the money in his right hand pocket.

It was also highlighted that the CCTV footage clearly did not support the colleague’s claim that he saw Ged put money in his pocket after closing the till.

Our representative had requested evidence from the employer prior to the hearing, which included copies of Ged's rota. This was used to show that Ged’s days off and the different shift patterns of the colleague who runs the syndicate meant that paying his Lottery money on the day was the last opportunity to do so before the Lottery draw.

Our representative acknowledged that Ged had breached company policy in having the money in his pocket. He argued that it was a new policy that had not been communicated properly, that there was a reasonable explanation for what occurred and the evidence did not support the allegation.

At the end of the meeting the disciplinary hearing chair informed Ged that he would provide him an outcome in writing and include details of how to appeal should it be necessary to do so.

Ged was given an informal warning for breaching company policy but cleared of theft. While he was suspended Ged secured another job but wanted to clear his name before he left.

It later turned out the colleague who was a witness against Ged had been stealing from the tills for months, and he was dismissed.

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For employment law advice or if you are affected or want information and support by any of the issues in this article please give us a call. 


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