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the_mole_763682

Theft of data accusation at work

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I have been loosely accused of stealing company data ALL information that points at me is purely circumstancial, but I have been suspended since June on full pay while they investigate.

 

A 3rd Party Person (whom I know) has offered (and sent) a sample of some company data to a 4th Party who in turn told us.

 

The claim to have a full copy of our company's live client database but on further pressing they now claim to have "lost it"/"never had it"/"no longer have the PC it was on" (story has changed a few times).

 

The only connection to the company appears to be me as I know this 3rd party (semi socially and I do some unpaid web development work for him occasionally).

 

The company has brought in a "Risk Analysis Professional" who has interviewed a few people including myself in the meeting this week they have asked to see copies of my personal bank statements and personal telephone bills to check for unusual payments into my account (bulk or small regular), and also see if I have been in contact with this 3rd party.

 

If I say No, they say I am hindering their investigation - but surely this is a breech of my civil rights?

 

They also asked if i would want to take a polygraph test (lie detector) - I have declined this as it's not a normal process in UK law.

 

And lastly they have asked to have my personal computer equipment from home to do a forensic scan to look for any of the missing data (*I never work on company stuff at home and so it wont be on my pc)

 

I am in the situation where I cannot possibly defend myself, I haven't commited this theft, but I have no way to prove this.

 

Any suggestions what to do/say?

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Others better versed in employment laws will be along shortly. My initial reaction is that a private company cannot ask for most of what they asking for. Only the police can do this, and only in the investigation of a suspected crime.

 

By not agreeing to their demands you may well be hindering their investigation, but it is up to them to prove you have done something wrong, not for you to prove you haven't.

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if you have been accused of stealing.......don't mess around ask them to call the police

 

contact your solicitor and get him to request why they have suspended you in writting

 

Do not take any tests or allow you pc to be copied


Beck

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Hmmm, sounds as though you are the scapegoat in this. So I am inclined to agree with the above. Dont allow them to have your computer (who's to say the true culprit isnt one of the people making the accusations and couldnt put information on your PC)

 

And tell them to involve the police.


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The actual wording on the suspension letter is:-

 

"22nd June 09

 

Dear Mole,

 

Further to our meeting this afternoon, and in line with the Company's disciplinary procedure, I am suspending you on full pay as we have reasonable belief you may be involved in client data being removed from the company premises.

 

During this period I must remind you that you remain an employee of the Company and it may be necessary for me or HR to contact you at any time. In the meantime you should not seek to contact any member of the company.

 

Suspension from duty, on full pay, is not regarded as disciplinary action, but merely a holding measure pending further investigation and where it is clearly undesirable for an individual to be in work.

 

I will contact you in due course pending further investigation.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

The FD

"

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The actual wording on the suspension letter is:-

 

"22nd June 09

 

Dear Mole,

 

Further to our meeting this afternoon, and in line with the Company's disciplinary procedure, I am suspending you on full pay as we have reasonable belief you may be involved in client data being removed from the company premises.

 

During this period I must remind you that you remain an employee of the Company and it may be necessary for me or HR to contact you at any time. In the meantime you should not seek to contact any member of the company.

 

Suspension from duty, on full pay, is not regarded as disciplinary action, but merely a holding measure pending further investigation and where it is clearly undesirable for an individual to be in work.

 

I will contact you in due course pending further investigation.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

The FD

"

 

 

The bit that I have highlighted simply does not stand up in law and should be ignored if you wish. It can only substantially hold true for working hours and work matters - they cannot forbid all contact.

 

I wonder what they think they could do if your partner/relative/team mates/best buddy worked for the company? Also, if this does go to disciplinary, you are entitled in law to have a work colleague of your reasonable choice present - how do you contact him/her under this instruction?

 

As others have advised, you do not have to give your employer, or this external company, any access whatsoever to your bank statement, telephone bills, personal computer, etc. It is for them to prove the matter, not surmise because you won't co-operate.

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Great,

thanks for the replies guys.

 

As you can imagine, I am losing a lot of sleep over this, they seem to be dragging their heels over it.

 

The MD wants me back in, as does the IT manager, but the whole board of directors consists of 5 people with the CEO and they don't know me as well. I am currently seeking employment elsewhere as I don't really feel like going back there at all.

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do not buckle to constructive dismissal.....dont leave !!!!

as such you are on full pay with time off right now.....and it's summer !!!!

 

if they decide to sack you, you will have a claim for unfair dismissal

as they have not called the police or found any evidence they would be on sticky ground

 

also i have been round a board room a few times....what someone says to your face is not what they may be saying or doing behind your back


Beck

"There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. one is by the Sword. The other is by Debt."

 

Barclaycard PPI Refund £4300:whoo:

Barclaycard = Mexican Stand Off

 

TSB = Mexican Stand Off

 

Santander = :mad2: MungyPup is coming to get yahh :mad2:

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Hi there Mole,

 

Terrible situation you are in, Truth is the best defence or something along those lines is what lawyers say lol :)

 

But anyway, to try and help you get some sleep do the following :

 

Write to the company, and detail that you feel you have done nothing wrong and not committed any crime, however if they feel you have (theft) then you kindly request that they contact the police to take the investigation further; also by law you are not required to provide them with half the things they asked for.. al ie detector test?! Who do they think they are for goodness sake. But anyways, write that brief letter directing them to the police as the allegations made are of a serious nature. sent by recorded mail of course

 

Also as someone stated, get in touch with your solicitor and get him to send a letter asking them to detail EXACTLY why you have been suspended..refrencing any points within your contract it relates too etc.

 

Hope this helps :)


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Hi there Mole,

 

Terrible situation you are in, Truth is the best defence or something along those lines is what lawyers say lol :)

 

But anyway, to try and help you get some sleep do the following :

 

Write to the company, and detail that you feel you have done nothing wrong and not committed any crime, however if they feel you have (theft) then you kindly request that they contact the police to take the investigation further; also by law you are not required to provide them with half the things they asked for.. al ie detector test?! Who do they think they are for goodness sake. But anyways, write that brief letter directing them to the police as the allegations made are of a serious nature. sent by recorded mail of course

 

Also as someone stated, get in touch with your solicitor and get him to send a letter asking them to detail EXACTLY why you have been suspended..refrencing any points within your contract it relates too etc.

 

Hope this helps :)

 

I would tend to disagree with this,

 

Leave the company to screw themselves up; do not complicate matters or inadvertently give them ammunition. All I would put into writing at this stage is a formal refusal for them to have access to your personal documents and computer, and you refusal to undergo a polygraph test.

 

You have a lawful letter of suspension that sufficiently details why (except for the sentence I mentioned above)

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Ok we are a bit further on.

 

I have heard nothing since my meeting with the investigator until a phone call tonight from HR saying "did you receive my letter i posted yesterday - you need to attend a Disciplinary Hearing tomorrow at 09:30"

I hadn't and so the HR guy hand delivered a copy to my house.

 

"Dear Mole,

 

following the investigatory meeting that was held with {the IT mgr}, I write to advise you are required to attend a disciplinary hearing.

 

The allegation against you is misconduct; the company has a reasonable belief you have been involved in client data being removed from the company premises.

 

If this allegation is found against you, you could be summary dismissed under stage four of the disciplinary procedure. I would like to make it perfectly clear that nodecisions will be made until you have had full opportunity to state your case.

 

You are entitled to be accompanied by a work colleague or Trade Union representative, if you so wish, during the hearing. The person who accompanies you will be allowed to make representations on your behalf but they will not be allowed to answer questions for you.

 

Please find attached a copy of the company disciplinary procedure.

 

 

{HR guy}

"

 

So are they gonna try to sack me without ANY evidence?

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They can't inform you tonight of a disciplinary meeting tomorrow. They are required - in law - to give reasonable notice.

 

They are also supposed to give you copies of evidence upon which they will be relying - in order that you may formulate your defence.

 

Your company are setting themselves for a fall.

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Please be aware that your employer doesn't need real evidence to dismiss you.

All they need is the 'reasonable belief' that they have quoted in both their letters to you. (Someone has advised them to use that phrase.)

 

They may feel that, if you are the only link that they can discover to the 3rd party, then it's reasonable to believe that you are the leaker.

 

To dismiss you for gross misconduct, if they still feel this 'reasonable belief' at the end of this disciplinary meeting, will not be considered to be unfair dismissal.

It won't matter that you are innocent.

 

 

It is in your interest to defend yourself as far as you feel able.

Tell them that you didn't do it and that you don't know how the 3rd party came by their information.

If you know that other people in the company are aquainted with the 3rd party then say so.

Showing your bank statements will demonstrate that you have nothing to hide and should make their 'belief' less 'reasonable'.

If the 3rd party doesn't appear on your phone bills, ditto.

(If the 3rd party does appear on your phone bills, explain what the call was about.)

Obviously the lie-detector is a non starter.

 

You have nothing to lose but your job.

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