An employee has been disciplined after her theft of workplace taxi chits was discovered. The nurse had used several herself and gave the rest away to others, including her son and friends. The total value of the thefts was $950.

When the disappearance of the chits was investigated and the nurse interviewed, she admitted to having given them away. Additionally, photographs provided by a taxi company showed the nurse in use of a voucher but signing with the name of a colleague.

Theft of an employer’s property is an extremely serious matter. Investigations into such incidents may result in findings of serious misconduct and even result in dismissal.

After being informed there had been a preliminary finding of serious misconduct, the nurse was told a formal meeting would be arranged with the General Manager. She tendered her resignation the next day citing “a change in personal circumstances”.

Despite her resignation, a hearing was conducted by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal. There was a finding of malpractice. In addition to a suspension of six months, the nurse was ordered to pay 30% of the investigation and Tribunal costs of $13,800.

It is extremely important all employees understand if and when they may use or remove employer property from the workplace. If ever in doubt, the employee should ask their employer for clarity.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have been accused of theft from an employer or you have an employee who may be misappropriating property, you should consult an experienced lawyer.

Alan Knowsley
Medical Lawyer