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VIC Suspension from Work for Alleged Theft - What to Do?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by broomie21, 22 December 2015.

  1. broomie21

    broomie21 Well-Known Member

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    Hi All,

    Yesterday, I was suspended from my management role for allegedly taking money from a wallet that was handed in at work. There is full camera footage of everything that happened on the day with regards to me trying to find the owner, but I know there is nothing showing me taking any money because, firstly, I didn't take it and secondly, when I checked for details about the owner, I didn't see any money in it.

    The complex manager took the footage to the police and then suspended me whilst further investigating me for the theft. I have heard nothing from my area manager, nothing from my complex manager and I'm feeling really depressed about the whole situation.

    What do I do from here? How do protect my reputation under Employment Law or Criminal Law? Now I feel I may lose my job over something where there is absolutely no proof of this happening.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi broomie21,

    The first thing you should do is investigate whether or not your employer has a legal right to suspend you. They must be conferred that right through your employmnet contract, an award or statute. If they don't then your suspension could be considered breach of your employment contract and you have the option of terminating the agreement if you wish or seeking a remedy through the courts for damages.

    If they do have the right to suspend your employment they must still act reasonably. Try to stay in touch with your HR manager and get information as to their progress in the matter and ask how long they anticipate it will take to investigate the matter.
     
  3. broomie21

    broomie21 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Sophea,

    I'm quite sure they have the right to suspend me but I know they have no proof of this happening because it didn't happen. I'm quietly waiting for them to go through the processes but I can't help wonder if my job is in jeopardy now ? and the thought of facing the Area manager now really upsets me because I have done nothing wrong .
     
  4. broomie21

    broomie21 Well-Known Member

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    Could anyone tell me if I have any path to go down if and when I'm cleared? I feel really hard done by and I feel as though my entire retail ethics and integrity have now been questioned.
     
  5. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    You may be able to request that a public apology be made to try to redeem your reputation?
     
  6. broomie21

    broomie21 Well-Known Member

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    UPDATE - I just received a call from the store manager stating that the police have been there and will be talking to me within the week. He said that I'm still on suspension until after this.

    Do I need someone with me when this happens? Do I need some form of legal advice? I have never dealt with police before and I'm a bit nervous about the whole thing.
    Any help?
     
  7. broomie21

    broomie21 Well-Known Member

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    Yet another update - I have received a call from the local police asking me to come in for an interview. I asked if I was being charged. To this, he told me it depended on what I had to say. He also said that the CCTV footage was enough for him to arrest me and interview me. When I asked when, he told me 10 days from now on the 4th January.

    This seems a long time and surely if they had proof then I would be either sacked or charged. This doesn't make sense to me and I can't access a lawyer until early January.

    Any help would be so appreciated!
     
  8. broomie21

    broomie21 Well-Known Member

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    Hi all,

    I have attended a work meeting for them to tell me that I have been dismissed. They have told me that the police will be charging me but as yet I haven't heard anything from them. Allegedly I stole money from a customer's wallet that was handed in. The wallet was left with no information in the cash office (limited access) and when I checked the wallet to find if I could find the owner, there was no money inside the wallet.

    I know there isn't 100% proof of me taking the money because I did not! And now I have been fired from my job and now face charges. I have been in management for more than 20 years and never any trouble with the law ever!

    I am in the process of obtaining legal advice but I was curious as to know what you all think about this - unfair dismissal. What do you think would be the likely outcome? I am very well known and liked in the community and something like this will absolutely crush my entire career.

    Any input would be very much appreciated.
     
  9. John Allan

    John Allan Member

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    Many factors will come into play. Police obviously believe they have enough evidence to succeed in a conviction. Have you seen CCTV footage? Does it appear you stole some money? How much money is it you alleged stole? Are you responsible for dealing in cash money from customers regularly?

    I believe you have a claim for unfair dismissal but you must make it within 21 days of dismissal. You may also have an " adverse action" case. By going through the wallet to identify the owner may be considered completely reasonable, if this was one of your regular or expected duties (this may be a stretch).

    Had you made any complaints (or something that could be viewed as a complaint) about work practices, contractors on behalf of yourself or others in the lead up to your dismissal? Given what you have stated, it appears harsh and unreasonable to dismiss you. Certainly having a lawyer on your side is the best option.

    Good luck.
     
  10. broomie21

    broomie21 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reply John.

    I have not seen the CCTV footage but I know because I didn't take it that I can't see how it could even appear that way. I am still not 100% sure of the amount of money we are talking about, all I know is it is around $1000? But that's just what I have been told by the store manager.

    I was told several times by the HR department, that I was employed to "clean up" the store as there have been many issues that have been swept under the carpet due to mismanagement and poor techniques. I have not kept quiet and have voiced my opinions on the way we as a group should be handling different team members and moving forward.

    Since this was happening, I have received multiple phone calls, texts and emails offering support by team members and telling me that they are willing to write letters and help in any way they can to ensure this doesn't happen to anyone else. I have been told that this is not the first time that a manager has been fired due to something that has not been proven.

    I have been in contact with a dismissal lawyer and he thinks I have a great case. The problem is that I know I will only receive at best some compensation. This doesn't help my career and doesn't fix the fact that now my name is mud in this town.

    Cheers
     

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