How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48190
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
29905560
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

I have been accused of stealing at work, suspended with full

Resolved Question:

I have been accused of stealing at work, suspended with full pay and asked to attend an investigation. How should I precede.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. firstly can you give me some more information. how long have you been employed there please and is there any evidence of you stealing please.

Customer:

I have been with the company over a year. I was in the wine cellar putting away a new order. I was going to go home and decided to get a bottle of wine i opned it and had a glass, i got intoxicated really fast and had been working since six int eh morning and had stayed on till six at night to try to get the new wine list going. I think the stress of the day and stress at home got on top of me. I opened another two bottles of wine. one i did not drink as it was off. I was so drunk the manger came in about i dont know when Asked if i had been drinking which i said i had told me to lock the cellar and go home. The next day i came into work paid for the wine work my shift for that day and at the end of the night the manager told me i was suspended pending further investigation.

Ben Jones :

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in a tribunal today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you this evening. There is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you

Ben Jones :

Thanks for your patience. Being placed on suspension is not an automatic assumption of guilt and does not amount to disciplinary action. It is there to be used as a precautionary measure whilst an employer investigates any allegations against the employee. Reasons for suspending could be in the case of gross misconduct, breakdown of relationship, risk to an employer's property, their clients or other employees, to preserve evidence or ensure it is not tampered with, avoid potential witnesses being pressured or intimidated, etc.

During the period of suspension the employer should conduct a reasonable investigation into the allegations against the employee. If the investigation gathers enough evidence to justify the taking disciplinary action that could be the next step. In that case the employee has the right to be informed in advance of the allegations against them and be given the opportunity to prepare for the hearing.

On the other hand, if the investigation does not find enough evidence to justify a disciplinary, the employer should terminate the suspension immediately and allow the employee to return to work as normal.

However, based on what you have said it does not look great. You were drinking company stock in work and got drunk on the premises. This in itself is gross misconduct and can be a sackable offence. To make it worse if you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure. So they could easily dismiss you even without investigating or conducting a fair procedure.

You may get a feeling of what they may do in this case from the meeting you have with them but you may be looking at asking them to let you go and drop this, rather than you ending up being dismissed. Be honest with them and say why this happened and apologise, showing remorse for your actions, then ask if it is likely they are looking at dismissal and if they are then offer to leave immediately and hope that they let you do that.

I hope this clarifies your position? If you could please quickly let me know that would be great, as it is important for us to keep track of customer satisfaction. Thank you

Customer:

Hi

Customer:

Thank you for your response. I am less concerned with losing my job than if they charge me with theft, I think it is certain I will lose my job and accept this, I think I am looking at how I can mitigate what is a bad situation e.g should I hire legal representation at this stage?

Ben Jones :

Hi, there is little a legal representative can do at this stage. You have not been charged with anything, the police have not even been involved yet. Only once they have been alerted and they then contact you and perhaps ask for a statement should you be considering legal representation but it is too early for that.

Ben Jones :

Hope this clarifies things for you a bit more?

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you