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My p.a over the past 18 month has submitted my expenses incorrectly. In essence she has taken my receipts and submitted them multiple times as well as using the incorrect mileage allowance for my mileage expenses.

 

I have agreed to pay back this overpayment but now is where the fun begins.

 

It is being implied (in writing) by a representative of the company that I have done something underhand - I have told them that this is defamation unless they have documented proof to substantiate their case.

 

They are telling me that the 'expense policy says that all expenses are my responsibility' but I have not been on any internal training course nor accepted any expense policy other than in my standard terms and conditions of employment.

 

The above way of working is common across the organisation.

 

A representative of the company is now saying my secretary will have her approval to submit claims on my behalf, that another p.a I use can only load an expense for me and that I am the only person who can submit the claim.

 

This is only for me - no other employee

 

I have told this person I feel that a case is being constructed against me. That this process reaffirms the 'underhand' allegation and that if they wish to document any case, I will formally respond via a solicitor. If they are not able to do this I have asked for an apology, assurance that there is no case being constructed and that the policy change is implemented across the organisation not just against me.

 

HELP - I don't know what to do as my health due to stress and anxiety is starting to suffer.

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Hello and thank you for joining the forum.

 

Are you saying that you didn't see your expenses forms before they were submitted?

 

I don't mean to be facetious, but did you do a quick check on the expenses you received against what you thought you'd spent? If you had multiple payments, wouldn't that inflate the figures?

 

What does your staff handbook say about expenses please?

 

I'd like the guys to comment, but in the heady days when I had expenses paid to me, the amounts were definitely my responsibility. Do you know how the confusion arose? My advice would be to cool it for the moment until some gurus arrive.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I have approximately £3000 - £4000 of expenses per month and the over payment has typically been a couple of hundred maximum but not consistently.

 

All the expenses are undertake online not in paper format. I scan all receipts and input onto the system - once - my secretary then takes over.

 

An audit was undertaken last month when the anomalies showed up dating back to June 2009 - As I said I agreed to pay back the overpayment.

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How much is the total you have to pay back? What has your PA said about how this has happened? Is there any pattern to the multiple submission of the receipts eg petrol receipt then visa receipt for the same item.

 

The problem, I feel, on the posted facts as described by you is that your employer suspects, with some cause, ie de facto you have over claimed, that there may be some dishonesty involved here. The employer is entitled to protect its property and to discipline suspected wrong doing. On the face of it all they are doing is putting in a couple of hoops for you to jump through so they can protect their property, not unreasonable in my view.

 

They haven't gone the extra mile, as yet, to investigate you and discipline you, which many others on here seem to be subjected to.

 

This defamation thing comes up time and time again, it is a can of worms that never ever gets off the ground with lawyers. If you have recourse to the law it is probably Employment law but from what you have said thus far I doubt you have any case.

 

I think if I were you I would be working hard to show your employer that a simple mistake has been made and try and understand how that mistake has come about.

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Hiya papasmurf. Zac, I have to agree with our blue person. People in my working life have been sacked for overclaiming on their expenses and you're not facing that.

 

Can you tell us what your Ts and Cs of employment say about expenses please? I was never sent on a course to learn any system. The branch manager used to tell us.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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One expense for £171.50 was claimed by her 14 times.

 

Another for £3.20 7 times.

 

Mileage of 45p rather than 16p

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One expense for £171.50 was claimed by her 14 times.

 

Another for £3.20 7 times.

 

Mileage of 45p rather than 16p

 

And you didn't see copies or have to authorise them under company procedures?

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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No I did not - My boss authorised them. I had no involvement in this - I just supplied her with electronic copies of new receipts.

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I think we really need to know what your employee handbook or similar says about this in order to advise you more fully. Do you have it to hand or can you tell us what it says tomorrow please?

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Gosh - I will have to look for it.

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Zac...... this does sound like a right c*ck up by your PA. What was her explanation for it? Also to have a PA it sounds like you are quite senior especially with the amount expenses you have. If this was such a c*ck up and they are 'after' you like you were suggesting in the original post //1, is there some other aspect of this that is more than merely an expenses story?

 

£171. 50 is a figure that stands out and I am not surprised that it was spotted especially after 14 entries. Do you keep a personal tally as you go along so you know you are being paid correctly. If £171.50 x 14 = £2401 was overpaid to me I think I would have spotted it. Surely you had some idea that something was amiss?

 

I am struggling to see why the employers actions are unjust but I am not party to the office politics so I am perhaps missing something.

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Gosh - I will have to look for it.

 

I think that's an important part of your argument. In your first post, you said that the expenses policy is alleged to say you're responsible and I think it's worth having a look at that.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I have to admit, I am struggling to understand how such substantial overpayments could not have been noticed - surely, even with the size of these expenses (or perhaps especially?) you would want to keep an eye on what you are owed - to make sure you get them? Seems as much haphazard on your part as it is from the employers. But in the end, no matter what the customary practice is, there is no doubt that they are your expenses and your expenses are your responsibility. If, say, you were to be dismissed for this, I think you would find that a tribunal would find it hard understand or believe that an expenses claim made in your name and received by you was not your responsibility. It actually doesn't sound like it is going to come to that, but it would appear that the employer isn't being at all unreasonable in saying that they want you to do your own expenses form. In your shoes, after a screw up like this - I'd be demanding that I ddi my own!!!


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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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I think we have seen this many times in the media over the last few months with MPs - where it was claimed that discrepancies were the result of administrative errors or by the person concerned not keeping an eye on what was claimed. The buck will always stop with the person in whose name the expenses were claimed, and it would seem here that whilst the PA in question needs retraining, the person receiving the reimbursement, ie You, should have been more diligent in checking the amounts involved.

 

Whilst you may have a moral argument to complain that your good name is being brought into question, I would find it very hard to believe that there is a legal recourse unless terms such as 'theft' or 'fraud' are being bandied about. Having uncovered a failing in the expenses submitted on your behalf, it should be the very least that the company should do to demand that you take full responsibility in future, with a secondary level of authorisation required to verify accuracy.

 

You can probably rest assured that others expenses have been subjected to the same scrutiny (or will shortly be) and that similar action will be taken IF similar practices are uncovered.


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