HR Home Forums Community Employee Theft and term with cause

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  • Conner Lantz
    Keymaster
    Post count: 4836

    Employee employed for 1 year 10 month fulltime status put in her resignation with 3 weeks notice with 1.5 week left as last day is sept 27. On sept 7 2019 she texts her manager telling her she is not coming in as she has interviews lined up. We find out later that she tells coworkers she lied and just did not want to come to work. sept 14 verbally tells a staff member that she is going to steal as many things as she can until her last day and at that time proceeds to place 2 boxes of company tea in her bag to take home. We have video of her giong to the lunchroom to get the tea and walking back to her office space. Do not have video of her placing it in bag and going home. Evidence of this is the employee that is coming forward put in writing what he witnessed and heard from employee who stole. I want to give her opportunity to come clean then resign on the spot so I do not have to pay her 1.5 week of her notice. If she does not come clean and resign on the spot I would move to terminate her with cause effective immediately. Do you see a problem with this legally?

    Conner Lantz
    Keymaster
    Post count: 4836

    I’m neither qualified nor allowed to give you legal advice. So, my first suggestion is that you talk to a lawyer.
    If you want my personal opinion, which again is NOT legal counsel, based on the scenario you describe and not knowing all of the facts: You may have a tough time justifying termination for cause. No doubt, theft is a just cause offence. But there are some problems here: First of all, unless I’m missing something, taking a couple of boxes of tea seems like a fairly minor and harmless act of theft. While it may warrant a warning, termination seems excessive. On the other hand, a relatively minor offence could rise to the level of just cause if the employee has a history of discipline for committing the violation, has received repeated warnings or suspension and/or is on a last chance agreement. But absent some other aggravating factors not mentioned in your Q, if this is a first offence, termination isn’t likely to hold up.
    Please be careful here. It sounds like you may be overreacting a tad. And if you’re wrong about just cause, you risk not just ESA liability but wrongful dismissal claims. But again, I don’t know the entire situation. And it sounds like you have a problem employee who deserves discipline–even though it may be less than termination. That’s why it’s so important that you talk to counsel before pulling the trigger on this one.
    Hope that helps. Glenn

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