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Help please I have to attend a Disciplinary Hearing

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Hi All

 

Today I was sent home from work at 4.30pm after my boss gave me a letter telling me that I have to attend a disciplinary Hearing on Monday morning.

 

The reason given is:

 

"The allegation is that you have removed company property from a skip containing company property awaiting disposal. Two issues arise from this:

 

1. Possible theft of company property.

2. The non-traceable aircraft components entering the used part market."

 

The letter says they consider this Gross Misconduct.

 

They have said in the letter that they will not be calling any witnesses.

 

I am not sure where I stand I have worked for the company for 6.5 years ?

 

The parts were disposed off in a skip outside of the companies propety. This skip was open to anyone. We have never been told that we were not allowed to take scrap metal.

 

The letter says that I can take a witness to the hearing. But who should I take? (I am not part of an Union).

 

The Letter also says the people who will be attending. They are the Director, Head of HR, (Who is also the bosses Wife) and my Manager.

 

Please Help I like working here and dont want to leave.

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You need to find out whether the skip was private property. If it was, then technically, your bosses might be right. I would suggest closely reading your employment contract on this matter to see whether there is anything specific about disposal of scrap. Also, make enquiries as to whether it is common practice for individuals to help themselves. If so, this common practice will be common law and you could argue this quite reasonably.

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Firstly, if you have one, join a trade union pretty quick and speak to the full time official. Secondly, the letter you received should state the charge which you said was gross misconduct. It should also state what the possible outcomes are from the meeting and this should say 'could lead to dismissal'.How do they know you took the stuff out of the skip if they are not bringing any witnesses? Do they have cctv, if so, then check on the reason for the cctv and its usage. Signage should be in place around the area advising of the cctv being recorded. (Ask for a copy) Also you must take someone in with you as a witness to what is being said. Ask them to take notes for you as i think you may not be in a mental state to take your own notes. They should have a joint note taker who must provide a copy of the notes for you. Dont sign anything even if pressured to do so. Just say you will sign it after taking advice.Whatever the outcome, you should always consider appealing to a ET ( Employment Tribunal) but if you dont end up in a union then you will need advice from the CAB or a solicitor.Good Luck with it.DGS

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There is no cctv at our work. The witness they talk about did not report it they were just talking about and the boss must of over heard he said.

 

The skip was ordered to get rid of rubish from the company. The bits i took were outside in the skip. I took the bits out, but did not take them home straight away, but a few days later. It was in front of 3 employees so was not steeling it. I did not know that it would be a problem.

 

I am hoping to speak to a lawyer tomorrow. Also they have not given me enough time to get advise, so I am going to email the Director to tell them to pospone the meeting so I can get a Legal representation and someone to come with me.

 

Witnesshelp

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Hi

 

Unfortunately taking from a skip is still theft, as it's either your employers property or the skip owners. Salvageable items can be sold off, so your employer is right. The best thing to do is apologise and hope they show mercy!

 

They're also unlikely to allow legal representation at the hearing, so I'd try and find a work colleague ASAP. You can reasonably ask for a postponement though as its very short notice.

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If the skip was outside the premises and any contents the property of the skip company then I would say that it is nothing to do with your Company. Maybe you did actually "steal" from the skip but it was off the Company premises (?) and the contents would no longer be your Companies property.

If this is the case then you committed an act against the skip company not your employers.

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Hi

 

Unfortunately taking from a skip is still theft, as it's either your employers property or the skip owners. Salvageable items can be sold off, so your employer is right. The best thing to do is apologise and hope they show mercy!

 

They're also unlikely to allow legal representation at the hearing, so I'd try and find a work colleague ASAP. You can reasonably ask for a postponement though as its very short notice.

 

If the skip was outside the premises and any contents the property of the skip company then I would say that it is nothing to do with your Company. Maybe you did actually "steal" from the skip but it was off the Company premises (?) and the contents would no longer be your Companies property.

If this is the case then you committed an act against the skip company not your employers.

The item would still belong to the company, the transfer of ownership of the goods does not transfer to the skip company until such time they pick the skip up. Up until that time it is still the person (the company in this case) who hired the skips property.

 

What you will need to prove here is abandonment and considering they are bringing you in on a disciplinary I would say they will say they did not abandon it. So where they are not going to it would be theft and theft from employer.

 

I would play dumb here and say sorry I thought once in the rubbish that is it and not anyones property blah blah blah. I would also be thinking about what your reason was for taking the parts as indicated by point 2 above. Were you going to sell them on?

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Just as a bit of background, my OH used to work for several warehouses. They used to dispose of excess/damaged stock in skips. If my OH wanted to take something that had been thrown out he'd ask permission before doing so. It was always made clear that if permission was given, the items could not be used for resale.., this was their main concern, not that it was 'theft'. They just didn't want discarded goods put up on ebay. Sometimes it would be because as a storage company, they didn't want to have to answer awkward questions as to why supposedly 'discarded' goods were then sold on ebay at a later date. Obviously this could cause enormous problems for them. However, this does not affect the fact that if my OH had taken stuff without permission, he could have been charged quite rightfully with theft.

Edited by deannatrois

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The bits that were taken were not for resale as they are scrap, I was going to use the metal from them to make bits for my car.

 

My company is very black and white, they will go for the highest discipline they can.

 

Fingers crossed I am wrong tho.

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Still deemed as theft though. As said apologise profusely and play dumb that you thought as they were in a skip the were rubbish and for anyone, that you wouldnt have jeopardized your job at such a great place you love working at for a bit of scrap

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They should have communicated their policies more clearly. And if they don't want people to take stuff, don't leave it lying in a skip outside the company's grounds. Your case has some similarities to this one, where a finding of unfair dismissal was made:

 

http://www.gov.im/lib/docs/registries/tribunal/et1151.pdf

Edited by altobelli

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They should have communicated their policies more clearly. And if they don't want people to take stuff, don't leave it lying in a skip outside the company's grounds. Your case has some similarities to this one, where a finding of unfair dismissal was made:

 

http://www.gov.im/lib/docs/registries/tribunal/et1151.pdf

 

Similar yes but this discuss' that there were other employees doing this and it was known by the directors and nothing said about taking stuff before and on some occasions they were given permission so therefore they never sought permission thereafter. If this is the case in the OP's workplace then they have abetter leg to stand on, if not I dont think it will help all too much

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No two cases are exactly the same transient. Don't get sidetracked on the differences, focus instead on the similarities. Some salient points from this case:

 

Para 61 - no-one sought permission nor was given permission to remove scrap.

Paras 92 & 93 - the respondent believed taking scrap was allowed. So did other employees.

Para 94 - scrap policy, if ever communicated, was unclear.

Para 97 - no clear warning that taking scrap was construed as 'theft'.

Para 98 - communication of scrap policy extremely poor, not communicated or disseminated.

Para 102 - failure to spell out scrap policy.

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No two cases are exactly the same transient. Don't get sidetracked on the differences, focus instead on the similarities. Some salient points from this case:

 

Para 61 - no-one sought permission nor was given permission to remove scrap.

Paras 92 & 93 - the respondent believed taking scrap was allowed. So did other employees.

Para 94 - scrap policy, if ever communicated, was unclear.

Para 97 - no clear warning that taking scrap was construed as 'theft'.

Para 98 - communication of scrap policy extremely poor, not communicated or disseminated.

Para 102 - failure to spell out scrap policy.

:hat:

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