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Ok so please get ready for a long post (sorry in advance).
So basically for 9 months I’ve worked at a convenience store that also had a small post office counter in there. Never had any issues up to now. So about a month ago there was a girl who had a discrepancy of -£1000 in her post office unit. I didn’t know about it until one of the other girls told me about it as it was obviously kept very hush hush. Anyway I carried on as normal in my day to day work. One afternoon I came in and another girl (not the one just mentioned) was balancing her post office cash before I took over for the evening shift (the counter was open until 9pm). Anyway she has a discrepancy for -£1022, she wasn’t going to say anything but o said to her, I’ll help recount her cash to make sure she hasn’t missed it etc. So we recounted the cash together and couldn’t locate the missing £1022. I said she was going to have to tell the boss immediately to which she did. Anyway I then took over the post office counter with my unit and carried on my day. About a week after this, the auditors turned up (which we knew was going to happen because of the discrepancies). I was off when they came but I got a phone call from my boss saying my post office unit was -£3000! I immediately went to work (albeit very distressed) and tried to help the auditors look for it. He said it has gone from a roller safe that I had some cash in (but very rarely used as it would very often malfunction) that was behind the till area in the shop and also covered by 3 CCTV cameras. He said only I have access to that safe even though the fob for it was in my post office bag (which was never locked just zipped closed) and in a small shared safe in the till room (there were 3 peoples post office bags stored in there) and the key for the safe was hanging on the wall, again not securely locked away or anything and the manager also has a skeleton key.
When I was there with the auditors we checked through the safe and didn’t find the missing £3000. I asked them what would happen next and he said that would be between me and the manager.
The manager told me to leave it to the auditors and go home. I asked him to keep in touch with me when/if they found it as I was very obviously upset about the whole issue.
I didn’t get a message at all so at around 7/8pm that evening, I text him and asked him if there was any update to which he replied ‘not yet’ and that he had to have a meeting with Post Office and would be in touch the following day. I asked him outright if I was going to lose my job and he evaded the question completely.
Anyway, next day came and again, I text him eager for any information. He then said I was to take the rest of the week off (which I haven’t been paid for). I then found out that the other two girls also with discrepancies had remained at their job and were in fact both working that evening. I emailed my manager and explained my concerns as to why I had been told to have the week off yet they were both still working and o felt like the finger of blame was being pointed at me! He said ‘no ones pointing the finger at anyone, but I don’t feel you would be able to work effectively with this hanging over your head’, so I assumed he had done it because I was very clearly distressed when I came in to assist the auditors.
Next day I get an email asking to attend a meeting the following day ‘to work out what we can do now and moving forward’ so obviously, I complied and attended the arranged meeting. This meeting was never disclosed as a disciplinary nor was I shown any evidence to support the allegation and nor was I told I could bring anyone with me etc. I left the meeting 10/15 minutes later without a job.
Fast forward to yesterday where a police van pulls up outside my house and 2 officers come to my door. I let them in because I knew exactly the reason they were here. They have asked me to attend a voluntary interview on Sunday to which I immediately complied and asked to do a voluntary search of my house to which I also agreed. The officer said I can refuse or I can follow him round but I stayed in the lounge and allowed him to look around my house. It was a pointless ‘search’ because he literally walked in each room, looked, and walked back out again. He then asked me to ensure I attend on Sunday and on leaving he said ‘basically, it’s your word against his because there’s no evidence’.
I’m assuming things like CCTV must have already been viewed before coming to my house? I don’t understand why they have still come? Surely they would need to have evidence in order to interview me rather than just go on an allegation? I suffer with sever anxiety and it’s absolutely though th roof right now. I’ve never been inside a police station let alone interviewed under caution.
Surely they have to have me bang to rights to actually do anything? There is no CCTV thy exists of me taking money and putting it on my person because I know I didn’t take that money. I feel like I’m guilty before being proven innocent.
The other two girls both still work there and haven’t even faced disciplinary action for their discrepancies yet I’ve lost my job! I said for a few months prior to all this that I felt like he was trying to push me out. It just seems odd that I have a discrepancy and I lose my job and the police are involved and I’ve been there less than 12 months so I have no grounds for unfair dismissal yet the other two girls who have both been there over 12 months haven’t had any kind of repercussions to their discrepancies (but without evidence, they can have him for unfair dismissal). Should I mention this to thmy police in my interview?!
Does this ring a bell with anyone else? I'm sure I heard a Radio 4 broadcast about exactly this happening to other PO workers. It was a software glitch or something and the PO had to compensate the workers. But only after the media became involed. It might have been a few years ago now, but just as you tell it OP.
I'm very sorry this is happening to you, it must be dreadful.
Yeah I read that as well, it was a technical glitch with the horizon system used by po but that going back a few years now.
I’m just beside myself with worry and feel like I’m being treated as if I’m guilty before I’m innocent.
Doesn’t help that I’ve been reading things about voluntary interviews and apparently they’re as bad as formal interview la just without the official arrest.
I’ve been crying all morning because I feel sick to my stomach. I’ve worked with money in a lot of jobs and never been accused of this.
I have 3 kids to think about so would never intentionally put myself in this position. The police officer said (he was on his own at this point because the other officer had gotten back in the van at this point) “it’s nasocally your word against his, there’s no evidence”. Now something about this is bugging me, was he allowed to say that? Is he saying that to try to make me feel at ease so I don’t feel the need for a solicitor to be present? Are they hoping I just think it’s a cosy chat so i say something that they can try to turn around on me? My mind is on complete overdrive and I can’t conventrate on anything! Its really distressing me and I can’t eat and can’t sleep becauSe my brain won’t shut off from it
Can you afford to take a solicitor with you?
You really need to ring ACAS and have a chat with someone who can give you some proper advice.
It sounds like you have been sacked for gross misconduct - but there are procedures that should be followed including telling you why you are being sacked and what evidence they have.
Voluntary police interviews article
I’m going to ask for a duty solicitor for the interview. It’s on Sunday so I’m going to ring the officer and ask for it to be arranged in time for me getting there.
I’ve rang Acas and they’ve advised that I can’t do anything in terms of unfair dismissal because my length of employment hasn’t exceeded 12 months (only 9 months). There are 3 girls that have left in the past month because of the manager, he’s very aggressive with his staff and it wasn’t unusual for him to call us ‘useless c*nts’ and shout at us in front of customers. We would get emails from as early as 4am in the morning and could get anywhere between 3-10 emails per day just him finding issues where there wasn’t any. I have mentioned to numerous people that I felt like I was being pushed out by him trying to make my working life as difficult/stressful as possible. I’m now wondering if this was his way of getting rid of me because I wouldn’t walk out like the other 3 girls that couldn’t take any more of him. Is it worth mentioning all this when in the police interview?
@fanspam- yes I assume it was gross misconduct but I wasn’t informed prior to the meeting that it would be a disciplinary, nor was I told what evidence, if any (there isn’t any) they had and what investigation took place. I was literally emailed to attend a meeting with him ‘to see what we can do now and moving forward’, at no point was I told anything. I had to chase him by text message for any updates with the audit after I’d left because he didn’t tell me anything even though I asked him to keep me closely informed.
I asked him if the suspension was paid or unpaid and the response I got was “I’ll het back to you about that” and he never did and I have never had payment for the days I was told not to come into work. It just all seems a bit dodgy to me, the whole thing!
My main worry is this police interview. I’ve been a law abiding citizen my whole life and worked in many jobs where cash handling was part of it and never had an issue.
I have severe anxiety so this is just playing havoc with me at the moment.
Although I know I’m innocent, I have to convince someone else that that’s they case.
Surely they have to have physical evidence by means of CCTV showing me physically taking the money and putting it in my purse/pocket/handbag? The safe that the money was taken from os behind a public counter and also covered by CCTV so how they think I’ve managed to take all that cash without any customers or members of staff seeing or it even being on CCTV? Sorry I keep going on but the thought of being In a police station is absolutely terrifying me
I’ve rang Acas and they’ve advised that I can’t do anything in terms of unfair dismissal because my length of employment hasn’t exceeded 12 months (only 9 months).
Are you sure ACAS said 12 months? It’s been 24 months for years.
There doesn’t have to be a formal process if staff don’t have 24 months service. I’ve had meetings with staff with 1 hours notice where gross misconduct is implicated.
What does your contract/staff handbook say about suspension and disciplinary action?
@tittygolightly yes sorry they probably said 24 months, sorry my heads all over the place. I know there’s certainly nothing I can do in terms of unfair dismissal but it seems like I’m taking the blame for everyone’s discrepancies because the other 2 girls have had no repercussions for theirs. Is there anything I can do after all this has been out to bed? For example false allegations, deformation of character? We live in a fairly small, local, everyone knows everyone area and I know shit sticks so I’m worried what this will do to my otherwise untarnished reputation of it because common knowledge?
@tittygolightly we don’t have a staff handbook or I wasn’t never made aware of its existence and I don’t have a copy of my contract in regards to procedures. I do however, intend to ask for copies of these after my interview has taken place on Sunday
I don't suppose you're in a union?
Do you know if the other 2 discrepancies have been investigated by the auditors? Where you working on the days of the other discrepancies?
Or do you think he's trying to pin all 3 discrepancies on you?
Try to have as many facts as possible with you on Sunday. Keep insisting your innocence.
It sounds as though the police officer was reminding you that there is no evidence against you, so I imagine you can't be charged with anything.
Clearing your reputation will be trickier, as your ex boss sounds very shady and happy to use anyone as a scapegoat. But the P.O. auditors won't just write this money off - they'll be keeping a bloody close eye on that branch while continuing to recover the missing money.
Stay strong, believe that the truth will come out eventually.
@gazelda no we have no union that I’m aware of. The first girls discrepancy I didn’t have any idea about until one of the other girls let it slip and she was on shift with her when it was discovered so I don’t think i was in because she’s normally only on PO when I’m not there. In regards to the second girls discrepancy, it was discovered when I came in on shift, she was counting her po unit to declare her cash and that’s when it was noticed, she had worked the morning shift and is come in for the evening shift so again, I wasn’t there on that occasion either. I also helped her recount her unit in case she missed it or miscounted. I was the only one to be called in to see the auditors, none of the other two girls were. In regards to the PO, try have their missing money as the boss has paid it to them and now he’s launched this on me so I don’t think it’s anything to do with PO as they now have their missing money.
From an employment perspective, what happens to the other women is nothing to do with you. Your relationship with your employer is unrelated to the criminal investigation and they don’t have the same burden of proof. So while it will feel unfair to you, that isn’t covered by employment law.
@tittygolightly yeah I guessed as much. I suppose I’ll just have to wait until Sunday and maintain my innocence. I have been complaint the entire time since it all came to light eg. Going into work immediately to see the auditors and manager, I regularly asked for updates from the manager following the auditors visit and the meeting he arranged with me, I am going for a voluntary interview on Sunday and I agreed to a voluntary search of my house. Hopefully this will be enough, along with lack of evidence by means of CCTV footage, to put this whole awful experience to bed. I’m not going to lie, this will affect me for a long time