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dd1 (20) has been accused of theft at work(20 Posts)
She has been suspended on full pay for four weeks and got a letter yesterday telling her a date has been set for a formal hearing on Thursday. There was a short interview on the day of the incident and she was asked to come in a week later to answer further questions. Notes were made at each of these meetings which she saw, agreed and signed but she has not been given copies.
She has not been told who made the original allegation and got no answer when she asked about CCTV coverage. She is not in a union. She took a workmate of her own age to the second interview and is trying to arrange for her to be available for Thursday.
She assures me categorically that she has not committed any theft, and there has never been any previous concerns about her honesty. She works part time and has been there two years.
I think she has been burying her head in the sand and hoping it will all go away but suddenly it really is happening. Is there anything I can suggest to help her? Anywhere she can go for advice? Find out her rights and the best way to get this over?
I know its a stupid time to be posting but I can't sleep with worry. Any help would be really appreciated.
Firstly what sort of business is it? Is it a bank/shop/office? Not that my advice will be radically different but I have specialist knowledge re one of the above.
I think you should post on employment issues because Flowery or Ribena are very good HR people who can give you some excellent advice.
What I can do is give you some useful links: This is the government's info on disciplinaries and can be used to make sure the process is being followed correctly.
Within that link you'll find links to ACAS who are a free advisory service. You daughter can call them to discuss her situation. Full details are here
She needs to be properly prepared when she goes into the meeting. It may be worth contacting the local union rep to see if they will attend even if she is not a member, but as a fellow colleague. She should have been issued with a letter detailing the exact nature of the allegation, with reference to the policy she has breached (in theft this will be gross misconduct) and the likely outcome (if she is found guilty of theft at worst that is dismissal and police involvement).
She needs to put any questions to them in writing. So there is CCTV footage. I think she has a right to view this, but she needs to request this in writing.
Keep copies of everything. All letters sent and received. If possible get a receipt for letters sent. She can request a copy of the notes.
Check your household insurance policy. Do you have cover for family legal protection? If so they will cover employment issues - call them.
What is she alleged to have taken? Stock, stationery, cash? Depending what it is then that might help her defend herself.
And in cases of theft it is usual to involve the police. What's happening with that? People don't get suspended based on a person's allegation, there has to be evidence of the theft - eg money missing before people start getting suspended.
Thank you for replying. It is a shop and she is accused of having given her friend something without taking any money for it.
I'm assuming that she knows the specifics of the accusation? I mean, that she was till-dipping/short-changing/ate food in a fast-food place she hadn't paid for/nicked a colleagues purse? And she knows it's not true?
Suspension on full pay while an investigation is carried out is simply routine, and absolutely no reflection on your DD at all, though of course it feels like a conviction.
As she's innocent, she really shouldn't have anything to worry about, so she's not really burying her head in the sand.
However, rather than taking a friend the same age on Thursday, it might be better if she could enlist an older colleague who might be less easily intimidated by a formal hearing. It's a shame she's not in a union, as that would have been the best route to take.
So, is there CCTV available? Or will she not find out till Thursday?
Thanks OLKN. There is no union rep at the shop she works in - it is a chain, but obviously I don't want to name it.
I think that she won't find out about the CCTV until Thursday.
Ok, so then the CCTV will be really important and your DD should request that in writing, referring to her earlier request that has not yet been actioned (don't put ignored, it doesn't do to put people's backs up in these situations). Your DD is entitled to request a deferment if she needs more time because they have not provided the information she requested in a reasonable time.
Did a friend of hers go into the shop at the date and time your DD is alleged to have done this? If there was a friend and she made a purchase does the friend have a receipt/bank or credit card statement evidencing that?
How did this alleged theft come to light? Was the till short? Was there a stock take? Did another member of staff claim to have seen this happen?
How exactly is she supposed to have been party to this theft? Did she bag up some merchandise and give it to her friend who then took it out of the shop? Or was it something from behind the counter that she gave her friend?
If it was that one of her friends has been spotted or caught shoplifting then they are on very dodgy ground involving your DD at all.
Don't name the shop and don't wait until Thursday to request any information. That needs to be done now.
I am assuming that Thursday is the disciplinary meeting and not another investigative meeting?
I have to feed my baby... but I'll be back in a few mins (hopefully!)
A friend of hers did go into the shop on that day and dd1 gave him a phone number written on a piece of paper. There are other details about his visit to the shop but it is quite unusual so may make this too identifiable.
The disciplinary is on Thursday. The letter she was sent had all the info listed that JAMM mentioned, apart from it didn't mention police involvement.
I'm going to try and go to sleep now - I have work in six hours time - but I will email a link to this thread to my dd. I am sure that she will find it useful and thanks again for your help.
I think JustAnotherManicMummy is probably more up on these things than I am, but agree that if there is CCTV footage your DD should see this in advance of any formal meeting. It's kind of like, the prosecutor has to disclose to the defence team all the evidence they intend to produce in court, so that your DD has the chance to refute it and isn't taken by surprise at the meeting.
From the sound of your OP, your DD doesn't even know who made the allegations, which seems unfair if she's to defend herself.
But I'll bow out now, since the latter part of my name really does apply in this case.
Best of luck to you and your DD.
Oh I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination (I work for a bank so I'm used to sitting in disciplinaries where people are alleged to have had their hand in the till) and we have to have a lot of evidence to allege misconduct of any kind, nevermind theft. And IMHO this all looks a bit tenuous based on what you've told us.
OLKN I agree about the defense/prosecution analogy. If they bring out any evidence at that meeting that your DD has not been given beforehand they are not being fair and could invalidate the whole proceedings. They would need to raise the evidence and then adjourn the meeting to give her time to look at it properly. And that would be for the full 5 days or whatever her company's policy is on time between notification of and holding a meeting is.
If someone is alleging that she passed merchandise to someone that she knew, who did then steal it, that does not mean your DD knew that they were going to do that or that she was party to it IYSWIM.
Unless they can show an incident on CCTV or it was witnessed by someone who is prepared to make a statement that your DD did this, then I think they're on very shaky ground.
I would be interested to know why they have not brought the police in where they suspect theft. It is standard practice where I work (and as you can imagine working with cash all day we do have the odd situation where some of it disappears so to speak) that if there is enough evidence to go to disciplinary there is enough to go to the police.
The fact they haven't suggests that they don't have enough evidence.
There's still time to be proactive about this. First step, get that letter written to request viewing the CCTV footage asap. Your DD may need you to delive this as often if someone is supsended they are not allowed to go to their place of work. Make sure you get that receipt.
Good luck and I hope you get some sleep
Got to go to work, I'm late already. Just bumping for any more ideas. Thanks for all the help so far. She is going to ring ACAS this morning. I've told her to persevere with trying to get through to them.
She got a lot of positive advice about the way she should conduct herself - she said it was helpful. She was told that if paperwork and the cctv were not made available to her, she should insist on it being available an hour before the hearing (or the hearing being delayed so she has had a chance to take it in. She was told to ask to see any written statements from other staff members and if she is told that she can't because they identify people, to ask for them with the names blacked out.
She also discussed the details that I said earlier that I can't mention online and was advised on ways to handle that, which I think she found useful.
That sounds good. Glad it was useful.
Not sure I agree about the hour before bit (doesn't seem enough time to look at it and phone for advice) and I would probably suggest going straight for deferment but the rest of it looks spot on.
Did you post in employment issues as well? Flowery is much better HR advisor than me
I did post in employment issues as well and I updated today -
The disciplinary hearing was adjourned for further investigation. dd is pretty pissed off with the whole thing but said that she felt that reading these threads had helped shaped how she voiced things in the hearing. Thanks again for the help.
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