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Theft, dismissal advice

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GoSeigen
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Theft, dismissal advice

#409722

Postby GoSeigen » May 6th, 2021, 7:25 am

Imminently I will have to carry out my first disciplinary in our small business <10 employees. The young employee of 18 months' standing, a single mother, has been engaging in petty theft which is gross misconduct so a summary dismissal is called for.

Any advice/pitfalls to avoid?


GS

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Re: Theft, dismissal advice

#409730

Postby Steveam » May 6th, 2021, 8:22 am

Have a witness present. I do mean witness not a further participant.

I don’t know what stage you’re at in terms of evidence collection etc but make sure you have all your evidence in a good state - prepared file and presentation - and be prepared to give her the evidence (anonymised if appropriate) and adjourn the meeting if she wants that. You need to be careful that you’re not seen to be bullying her or railroading her.

These sort of interviews can go many ways … it’s best to keep it short and professional. Don’t push her into denials and protestations but do be fair and listen to anything she wants/needs to say. Don’t be mean - if a weeks wages will mean little to the business but a lot to her give it to her. Don’t be angry or bitter or recriminatory.

Good luck. It’s no pleasure but these things happen.

Steve

ReformedCharacter
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Re: Theft, dismissal advice

#409761

Postby ReformedCharacter » May 6th, 2021, 10:27 am

You may want to offer the person the opportunity to have someone else present 'on their side' whether it be a union rep. a friend or whatever. My OH unfortunately has quite a lot of similar meetings and that is standard practise.

RC

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Re: Theft, dismissal advice

#409799

Postby Steveam » May 6th, 2021, 12:51 pm

ReformedCharacter is correct. I apologise for not mentioning this. You should start the meeting by explaining that this is a disciplinary meeting which may lead to her dismissal and ask whether she would like to have someone else present. (Very often if you can get across the message that you’re not going to involve the police and not out-for-blood they’ll just want it over).

Best wishes,

Steve

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Re: Theft, dismissal advice

#409801

Postby AsleepInYorkshire » May 6th, 2021, 1:31 pm

What this person has done is wrong.

They have betrayed trust.

Only you can know how to proceed. You may want to give them an opportunity to explain and perhaps even put it right. That's an option that's dependent upon circumstances. However, it's a difficult place to go as trust once broken is a huge barrier to beneficial relationships going forward.

Be kind. It will make you feel better about the actions you take.

AiY

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Re: Theft, dismissal advice

#409977

Postby servodude » May 7th, 2021, 6:29 am

AsleepInYorkshire wrote:Only you can know how to proceed. You may want to give them an opportunity to explain and perhaps even put it right.


I was thinking the same thing, because it reminded me of an experience of my own.

A colleague at a "prestigious" Glasgow establishment who had been given the responsibility of closing up for the night (it was some unusually late function; possibly a wedding?) had a bit of a brain fart and ran off with the takings instead of putting it in the safe (would have been just over a years pre-tax salary for him)
- he returned it in a panic the next day when he realised what he had done and what it would mean
- and continued to work there for at least a good 5 years after as a really great employee
Only a few of us knew it had ever happened.

People do stuff for the strangest of reasons and some times it can be better all round to take a step back and take in the big picture.

I do however have no doubt that GS will handle this situation as sensitively as can be done; I don't envy him though

stay well
- sd

GoSeigen
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Re: Theft, dismissal advice

#409991

Postby GoSeigen » May 7th, 2021, 7:59 am

servodude wrote:
AsleepInYorkshire wrote:Only you can know how to proceed. You may want to give them an opportunity to explain and perhaps even put it right.


I was thinking the same thing, because it reminded me of an experience of my own.

A colleague at a "prestigious" Glasgow establishment who had been given the responsibility of closing up for the night (it was some unusually late function; possibly a wedding?) had a bit of a brain fart and ran off with the takings instead of putting it in the safe (would have been just over a years pre-tax salary for him)
- he returned it in a panic the next day when he realised what he had done and what it would mean
- and continued to work there for at least a good 5 years after as a really great employee
Only a few of us knew it had ever happened.

People do stuff for the strangest of reasons and some times it can be better all round to take a step back and take in the big picture.

I do however have no doubt that GS will handle this situation as sensitively as can be done; I don't envy him though

stay well
- sd


Thanks everyone for the support and wise advice so far. The above echoes my thoughts almost exactly. In doing the investigation I found that this has been an ongoing problem but no-one has reported it to me. The latest item to disappear was a high value item of lost property which a customer returned for and it had vanished. So there are problems with our processes and management which we are addressing. I'd expect the culprit to accept responsibility of this item and return or replace it if she's to have any chance of staying here.

It's sad because just a couple of months ago I was pleading with the local prosecutor and magistrate to get her off a criminal prosecution for a minor breach of COVID rules. She's a good worker though and a good fit in our business -- which her brushes with the law are spoiling for now... and unemployment round here is some 30%...

I'll report back, just finalising the evidence we'll be putting to her.


GS

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Re: Theft, dismissal advice

#409999

Postby Dod101 » May 7th, 2021, 8:51 am

GoSeigen wrote:
Thanks everyone for the support and wise advice so far. The above echoes my thoughts almost exactly. In doing the investigation I found that this has been an ongoing problem but no-one has reported it to me. The latest item to disappear was a high value item of lost property which a customer returned for and it had vanished. So there are problems with our processes and management which we are addressing. I'd expect the culprit to accept responsibility of this item and return or replace it if she's to have any chance of staying here.

It's sad because just a couple of months ago I was pleading with the local prosecutor and magistrate to get her off a criminal prosecution for a minor breach of COVID rules. She's a good worker though and a good fit in our business -- which her brushes with the law are spoiling for now... and unemployment round here is some 30%...

I'll report back, just finalising the evidence we'll be putting to her.


Being kind and so on is all very well but no matter how good a worker she is she is, it would appear, thoroughly dishonest. I am afraid I would be very black and white about that. She would have to go no matter how good a worker she may be. What about the effect on the other workers? If she can be excused why not them? You are, as it says on this Board, Running a Business, not a charity. All that assumes of course that you have cast iron evidence of her guilt.

Dod

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Re: Theft, dismissal advice

#410075

Postby Charlottesquare » May 7th, 2021, 2:54 pm

GoSeigen wrote:
servodude wrote:
AsleepInYorkshire wrote:Only you can know how to proceed. You may want to give them an opportunity to explain and perhaps even put it right.


I was thinking the same thing, because it reminded me of an experience of my own.

A colleague at a "prestigious" Glasgow establishment who had been given the responsibility of closing up for the night (it was some unusually late function; possibly a wedding?) had a bit of a brain fart and ran off with the takings instead of putting it in the safe (would have been just over a years pre-tax salary for him)
- he returned it in a panic the next day when he realised what he had done and what it would mean
- and continued to work there for at least a good 5 years after as a really great employee
Only a few of us knew it had ever happened.

People do stuff for the strangest of reasons and some times it can be better all round to take a step back and take in the big picture.

I do however have no doubt that GS will handle this situation as sensitively as can be done; I don't envy him though

stay well
- sd


Thanks everyone for the support and wise advice so far. The above echoes my thoughts almost exactly. In doing the investigation I found that this has been an ongoing problem but no-one has reported it to me. The latest item to disappear was a high value item of lost property which a customer returned for and it had vanished. So there are problems with our processes and management which we are addressing. I'd expect the culprit to accept responsibility of this item and return or replace it if she's to have any chance of staying here.

It's sad because just a couple of months ago I was pleading with the local prosecutor and magistrate to get her off a criminal prosecution for a minor breach of COVID rules. She's a good worker though and a good fit in our business -- which her brushes with the law are spoiling for now... and unemployment round here is some 30%...

I'll report back, just finalising the evidence we'll be putting to her.


GS


You have not said so in so many words, but your actions/decision making in advance of this meeting imply, has she already admitted guilt?

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Re: Theft, dismissal advice

#410144

Postby MyNameIsUrl » May 7th, 2021, 8:12 pm

GoSeigen wrote:Imminently I will have to carry out my first disciplinary in our small business <10 employees. The young employee of 18 months' standing, a single mother, has been engaging in petty theft which is gross misconduct so a summary dismissal is called for.

Any advice/pitfalls to avoid?


I'm sure you'll know what's meant by 'protected characteristics'. It's not uncommon for people to claim discrimination even in the face of overwhelming evidence, and you've already indicated this person is young, female, unmarried, and has a child, so just think through what your reactions might be if the discussion goes off at a tangent.

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Re: Theft, dismissal advice

#410147

Postby Mike4 » May 7th, 2021, 8:29 pm

Interestingly, there was a somewhat related thread running in The Gas Chamber recently. A gas bod is accused of leaving a gas pressure test point open leading to a serious fire. What should the HSE administer as a 'punishment'?

A range of possibilities between a warning letter and deletion from the Register (meaning termination of his career) were the options, and opinions were sought. A good number of opinions were posted before the subject of proof cropped up, i.e. the possibility of sabotage, and the question of proof that the test point was actually left open by the person accused and not by someone else.

In the case of the OP has this person admitted guilt or been convicted of the theft? If not then is summary dismissal not a risky course to take?


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