Expensive items have been stolen from my work, I could be getting the blame

Long story short, 2 empty boxes were found of expensive game consoles in the storeroom of my work. It almost has to be an employee that stole it, and probably a keyholder at that. So that brings it down to the two managers or the two senior casuals, of which I am one of them.

Unfortunately out of the four key suspects, I'm the most likely to be blamed. Though I've not stolen anything, I've bought and resold items from work, which hasn't done anything good for my reputation.

I know that in other stores, whoever was in charge of the store that day that consoles went missing is fired immediately. In this case, we don't know how long they've been missing, because they were the last consoles left in a pile that's been there for weeks.

On one of my most recent shifts though, the casual I was working with brought a backpack in with him, and it was for his last ever shift. I actually know that he has stolen things in the past, and so I can't think of any other explanation than he has stolen the consoles. But even with this gut instinct, what can I do? I'm terrified of losing my job, I just got my most recent roster and got no shifts, which is a pretty big indicator of where I'm headed.

Has anyone got any advice?

Comments

  • +4

    Surely there are security cameras ?

    • There are not.

      • So where do you work?

        • +30

          Yes.. we need to know for.. scientific research.

        • +2

          Expensive game consoles and no cameras? Has to be ebgames, never seen cameras at any eb stores.

  • +16

    If they don't have evidence they can't fire you.

    • +26

      They can roster OP on for the minimum legal requirement and ensure that the few hours per month OP is scheduled to work conflicts with availability. Guess what happens next?

      • +13

        Unfair dismissal claim?

        • +20

          Good luck living in IdealLand

        • As a casual? Not really worth the trouble.

        • @cashews:
          It's actually fairly cheap to lodge a complaint

        • @rodripa: Complaint about what though.
          They can just keep you on for the minimum amount of rostered shifts then eventually you will find it not worth going.

          There are PLENTY of things they can do to make your job harder and not as rewarding without breaking the law.

        • +2

          @rodripa:

          Suggest you read into it a bit more:

          Not bullying if unless employer acting as defined:

          a person or a group of people repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards a worker or a group of workers at work AND the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.

          Cutting one's shifts would not come under this.

          In effect it only gives you a document telling them to stop, also doesn't work when you're fired as the bullying order is a civil remedy provision (meaning if they don't stop, then you can ask a court to fine the other party)

          a worker in a constitutionally covered business who reasonably believes that he or she has been bullied at work can apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop the bullying.

          Either unfair dismissal or forced resignation, provided you had regular and systematic hours:

          http://benchbooks.fwc.gov.au/generalprotections/what-is-adve...

          A forced resignation is when an employee has no real choice but to resign.

        • Wonder if it is a chain store, does the employer have the ability to move you to another location which wouldn't be too favorable for you. And just say "we are cutting staff hours at this store, however another store requires more staff, would you like to go?" lol.

          Would be interesting to know the laws about that. Remember humans can do some pretty cruel things, just protect yourself as much as you can.

          I remember a friend who worked in a company, where his boss didn't really like him. So one day the boss goes "I need this document AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, please email it to me NOW". He was naive and did as he was told, but next day he was fired for breaking HR rules.

          He tried to argue that it was the boss who told him to send it, but his HR manual clearly said there was no exceptions, and he had signed it when he joined. Basically HR said "He didn't make you do it, you had the choice to not send it, and simply quote the security protocols, however you sent it, what if it got leaked?".

        • @lplau: that is called performance management, HR were probably in on it too…

        • @lplau:

          Location may be an express or implied condition on the contract. May be seen as forced resignation or even redundancy if location is due to change (i.e retail shop closes down and they try to relocate you, or instead of dealing with a bullying issue, HR decides to relocate you to your detriment.) Then court would look at the factors around the dismissal, including any sort of flexibility term written into the contract and decide what should happen.

          It's pretty complex stuff and there is a lot of case law involved.

          For your friend, it would probably be a matter of whether he was warned about this or not, as well as the severity of the mistake (keep in mind there is no statutory requirement to warn someone before dismissal, only provide the relevant notice period to terminate employment).

          These are issues where you would need legal advice from an employment law specialist.

        • @Serapis: Haha yup, Ozbargain is never a substitute for lawyers! Sadly law is never black and white and often illogical.
          I remember doing something similar with lawyers, the LOGICAL and rational reasoning would be on my side, however the lawyers still said there was a 50/50 chance of winning the case because of some technicalities under law.

          When it comes to lawyers they say they are acting on your best interests, however most of the time they are acting on the best interest of their wallet, stretch the case as long as they can, so they can drain you of your money lol.I remember that was along the lines of what arbitrator said to me when we went into arbitration to attempt to solve the issue before court.

  • +12

    Why would you be terrified? That's irrational. I would be suggesting that the casual that recently left and who arrived with a backpack for their last shift may have been the culprit. Be logical about it and think of something that suggests you couldn't have been the culprit. Talk to your manager if you feel comfortable doing so. Also, it may be coincidental that your shifts have been scaled back. Perhaps, if this is a small business, costs are being recovered through a reduction in employee hours?

  • +7

    Do you work for EB games?

  • +1

    Why are there no security cameras and why do think they would blame you?

  • +1

    there are a number of scenarios here…

    1. potential loss of job

    2. potential criminal proceedings

    3. nothing happens

    re: 1. that's up to the company/boss. if you are sacked, you can investigate the unfair dismissal avenue
    re: 2. assuming what you say is correct, this will not happen
    re: 3. keep on trucking

    if you have done nothing wrong, go to your boss and have a chat. tell him/her your thoughts and you are terrified of losing your job. what's the worst that can happen ?

    • +8
      1. Potential loss of Job

      OP is a casual.(So that brings it down to the two managers or the two senior casuals, of which I am one of them.)

      I just got my most recent roster and got no shifts

      There is no unfair dismissal, just no shifts anymore.

      • fair comment - i don't understand casual stuff - but surely they have a contract?

        • +1

          That's the point of casuals there is no contact

        • but surely they have a contract?

          last i knew, and it might change in different state or just be wrong, but there has to be a period of time working the same shifts or certain hours where a casual can claim a permanent contract

        • +1

          @knick007:

          This is a misconception, casuals do indeed have contracts under common law but as stated in Shortland v The Smiths Snackfood Co Ltd (2010)

          "…each occasion that a casual employee works is viewed as a separate engagement pursuant to a separate contract of employment. Casual employees may be engaged from week to week, day to day, shift to shift, hour to hour or for any other agreed short period."

          The fact that a casual has regular or systematic hours gives rise for unfair dismissal as "…a period of continuous service can be made up of a series of periods of service, some of which count towards the period of continuous service…".

          Reduced hours may be constructive dismissal / forced resignation as pursuant to Fair Work Act 2009 - s386(1)(b) - the person has resigned from his or her employment, but was forced to do so because of conduct, or a course of conduct, engaged in by his or her employer.

      • +13

        Casual employees do have rights, unfortunately unscrupulous employers play on the employees ignorance and a lot get away with unfair treatment (makes my blood boil). If you have a history of a certain number of shifts over say a 3 month period and you suddenly get no shifts and there is no discernible reason (downturn in trade, every casual is losing shifts, etc) then you have a case. Employers cannot cut shifts as a form of punishment, there is a procedure to manage poor performance. You can contact fair work Australia, however they will only look into it if you have been with your employer for over 6 months.

        • that's what i was getting at

        • I've been an employer in this scenario and went through the whole process with a casual employee, basically a lot of effort on both our parts and in the end I had to agree to let her come back to work, which was fine but once there was no money she never turned up again, I had a nice job for her all lined up in our receiving dock too (which I knew she would hate).

          (The issue was I had stupidly let her work set days for a few months to help her with her Uni schedule and once Uni was on break I needed her to work a couple of different days…apparently by being nice while she was at Uni screwed me. From that day on all of my casuals got randomized shifts and hours each week)

  • +87

    PM me if you know where I could buy a cheap console? no receipt required, will pay in cash

    • +12

      ouch……..

    • -32

      Are you serious ?
      So uncalled for

      • +68

        Australian humour

        A black sense of humour
        Australians can have a very black sense of humour. While in many cultures it is considered poor taste to find humour in difficult circumstances, Australians tend to look for this lighter side. This is perhaps our strongest reference to our brutal past, where humour was a means of coping with a bad situation. A (perhaps unintentional) example of this is the naming of the Harold Holt Memorial Swimming Pool in Melbourne after a Prime Minister who disappeared whilst swimming in the ocean in 1967.

        In my experience, it's often the bloke who has the first laugh that lends the first hand.

        • +7

          honestly, didn't know about the naming of a Swimming pool after his disappearance… that really is in poor taste. born + bred here. lol thanks for sharing though!

        • -14

          Not surprised. Obviously I didn't see that a humour.

          But of all seriousness I am totally against purchase/dealing with stolen goods and I think that's general consensus here.
          Unless your house or premises hasn't been broken into it will be hard to understand for some where I am coming .

        • +2

          When I moved to Melbourne, finding out about the Harry Holt pool was hilarious.

          Even more hilarious was locals not seeing the irony.

        • +6

          @catbrain: I'll find it more funny if the Chinese name a submarine after him….I wonder how many will get that reference tho… :)

        • @Forfiet: I SO WANT THAT TO HAPPEN

        • @catbrain: lol, it would be interesting….

    • wow.. that comment has been up voted 7 times and negged 7 times so far.

      love controversial comments.. wd :)

      • +9

        Your comment had one upvote so I sorted that shit out.

  • +2

    You've got nothing to hide, don't sweat

    • +2

      they are already giving him zero work because of it.

      • +25

        He won't be working up a sweat then :)

      • +3

        perhaps he should man up and talk to his boss?

        • -2

          He doesn't have a boss anymore.

  • +10

    If it was very recent, you could facebook stalk that suspected casual and see if he's selling the console. Or check on Gumtree/ebay to see if there's a console for sale in the area. Still worth a shot if he hasn't sold it yet.

    • +1

      and you'd have the serial numbers of the stolen consoles from the boxes they were packed in, yes?

  • +6

    ring your union, even if you arent a member (join up then).
    ring up (or even tweet Fair Work Australia, they will contact you (I have tweeted them before and they replied.
    Dont be scared, call fair work and discuss.Dont wait weeks/months.

    • -9

      If you're going down the Fair Work route, I'd get in quick before the new Liberal salesman Malcolm Turncoat does his damage:

      http://blogs.uwa.edu.au/mon3ier/2015/09/18/malcolm-turnbull-...

    • Union it's the last useful thing. Friend had encountered unfair dismissal(management forged discipline record) and union helped him nothing. You really need to prepare yourself well and have the determination to go to court to cope with some rogue management, otherwise personal revenge is you ultimate bet.

  • +10

    I know that in other stores, whoever was in charge of the store that day that consoles went missing is fired immediately.

    I'm sure the courts would like to hear about this.

    • -5

      Well it's part of the job to prevent thefts

      • Being in charge of an area from where goods go missing, is no proof itself that the person in charge is responsible for theft or facilitating theft.

        They may be stood down while an investigation occurs, however termination of employment would require some irrefutable evidence.

        • I'm not saying that the person monitoring the area would be directly involved in committing a theft.

          But if for example you hired a security guard whose job it is to "Make sure nobody goes into this area", and then someone goes into that area behind the security guard's back, the security guard is still not doing their job properly by not being more vigilant (even though they were not part of the entering party) and it would be grounds for firing for not doing their job well enough. The fact that something went missing from that area during their shift would be evidence enough that someone must have entered that area.

      • No.

        OP would have needed to leave a locked cabinet open and left the area or something like that.

        OP's casual. They are not responsible for the security of a locked room 24/7 over a three week period.

        for example you hired a security guard… someone goes into that area behind the security guard's back

        A security guard's job is to call the police then record events. Their life isn't worth the $25 an hour they make. If a client cheaped out on security it is the client's problem. The guard may be rotated but there would have to be more problems to fire them.

        • +1

          I was responding to:

          I know that in other stores, whoever was in charge of the store that day that consoles went missing is fired immediately.

          So that would be the manager in charge of the store at the time who would be in trouble (eg: by not locking/controlling access to the store room), not the casual employee (OP).

          Obviously the exact circumstances would be taken into account, and how secure the storage of these valuable items are in the first place, but the point that I'm making is that it IS possible for an employee(manager) to be fired over thefts if it is in their job description to take certain actions to prevent thefts but they fail to do so.

  • +4

    Why would buying/reselling things from work raise suspicions? Surely this in fact shows that you are inclined to pay for items than steal them.

    • +1

      Regardless, it still exemplifies his will to make extra cash on the side - probably dealt with products similar to what has been stolen.

      • +1

        Maybe OP shouldn't have told his colleagues that he was selling stuff on the side. Just raises unnecessary suspicions.

        • Exactly, it certainly does not help him in the blame game.

        • It can be made clear without me telling them.

        • @noodlesfordaddy: no it doesn't. No one would think otherwise unless you confirm their speculations. You can be buying stuff from work as a gift or for yourself.

        • @noodlesfordaddy:

          Your colleagues might understandably know that you purchase consoles.

          What you subsequently do with them can only be known by 1) you informing others willingly, or 2) your nosy colleagues invading your privacy.

      • +1

        You hit the nail on the head.

      • Some bosses I've known over the years would promote those behaviours. My good friend in the UK started like this (video-game store, too) - now has 5 stores.

        It's a good mindset. Playing by the rules, supporting his store, and seizing business opportunities. It's an honest living. Unless… he's doing a Broden on the store's stock, of course.

        I'd rather keep stock moving & have entrepreneurial staff, than lazy clock-watchers & those with tall poppy syndrome.


        To the OP: Be proactive. "An honest man has nothing to hide"! If it's true, then you're not scared of the truth/questions/facts, or in hiding. You should be upset, and do everything you can to clear your name.

        • -1

          Unfortunately life is not always black and white. That's why we have the word GRIEVES.

        • -1

          @ITveteran: Who has the word? Google gave me nothing.

    • Agreed.

      F all the witch hunters - and their pitchforks! lol

      They need evidence.

      Innocent until proven guilty.

  • +1

    Be open with management and tell them how you feel. Ask for some shifts. Most likely they are trying to force you out your job by making you find another job and quit so you have to push for some work.

  • +14

    Start applying for another job, maybe dick Smith or jbhifi. I'm sure they will take you on considering your experience.

    But I do agree with the others. You must speak up and defend your name. Even if they don't give you any shifts and effectively 'fire' you, you must not walk away silently if not they will definitely think you did it.

  • +6

    Just the fact they were the last two boxes means it could have been anyone, anyone at all. Even the delivery driver/loader/etc.

  • +3

    There's two ways of looking at this.

    First of all, you have nothing to be afraid of - if there's no evidence, there's basically no chance that any charges will be laid against you, so you're in a good position to start off with.

    Personally, I wouldn't want to work with people who would think that I am a thief and am stealing stuff. This means that they will be highly suspicious of me and that when things go missing, by default, I will always be the first to blame. Thus, regardless of whether it is fair or not, you should start finding a new job.

    What most people (and the law) don't recognise is that it's very difficult to work with people who don't like you or who don't trust you - cite unfair dismissal laws all you want, cite the fact that you have the right to your current job all you want, but if go to work every day and they are continuing to believe that you did it, it leaves a foul taste in their mouths and you can't do anything about that except do what you can to get a new job.

    Start applying now before the massive end-of-year rush when all the kids go on holidays and start applying for casual jobs. Life's too short to work at a place that doesn't value you. Unless you're desperate for a job (which you aren't - you have experience…etc.) work somewhere that will respect you and you won't be the first to blame when things go missing.

  • +4

    the casual I was working with brought a backpack in with him, and it was for his last ever shift. I actually know that he has stolen things in the past

    did you mention this to your bosses?

    • +4

      Yes.

      • And??
        Didnt care?

        • +1

          The boss probably thought OP made this up.

      • -2

        Lol

    • I agree 100% with Paulsterio's point of view, life's too short to have such worries. Look for another job, while you still can and hopefully you will find a place that values you.

      I have been in similar positions many times, not being respected or valued ( mainly due to age,owner/management take over/change and just stupidly, letting people walk all over me by being too nice)

      I stress for you to make yourself very clear that you had nothing to do with the occurence, but are leaving due to the diminishing shifts.
      Be pro-active and don't worry about what others think or will think about you, when you leave. They will soon be forgotten and you can leave this shait, behind. :) .

  • +10

    Set up a meeting with management and speak openly about the matter. Don't point a finger at anyone. Just say it wasn't you and that you value your job. Even state that you have bought and sold in the past, but you didn't steal in this case. Be open and honest.I'm sure they will appreciate that. Nothing to lose either way.

  • +1

    Very bad situation.

    Maybe do abit of sleuthing and Check ebay to see if someone is selling a high number of consoles? Then try figure out who the owner of the ebay account is.

  • Surely these items have serial numbers. I like the sleuthing idea but for the possibility the doer has given them to a friend to sell or is holding them somewhere for Christmas presents. I recognize the irony there but my mother lost her outdoor potplants early one Mothers Day.

    When you have the talk (yes; get there first), annoy the bejeevers out of them to update their security video system. It concerns me that you took no acyoon against other employee you say you knew was stealing; now it appears that your job loss is of consequence to that. Bit late now to bring up that subject; can only make things worse for you if you do so now.

    My inclination is to not wait but take the loss of shifts to mean you should be out door knocking for another position. I think you may just have to blame yourself for not standing up to the employee you caught stealing before; sounds like that would have been expected from a senior employee.

      • +6

        "a console is more expensive than a console"

        Which console is more expensive than a console? I think I need some consoling.

        • +3

          Now you've replied I can't edit :( a console is more expensive than a parking fine :(

  • +13

    Better call Saul

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