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I have been accused of falsifying my time sheets and

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Hello, I have been accused...
Hello, I have been accused of falsifying my time sheets and fraudulently claiming money for times that I have not worked. It was during a period of 11, 12-14 hours night shift (I usually work days, but nights when necessary) I started my shift at 6pm on site, and went through till 7-9am the following morning, and booked all the time between less 30 minutes for my so called lunch.I went off site some of these nights to travel to my accommodation as I work away from home to make and eat my food. Whilst off site I read documents for work, and other work related things, and I genuinely believed that I was still working and available. I am told that I will be disciplined for claiming the hours whilst I was off site.My work is a supervisory role and not manual labour. They say that if found guilty of gross mis-conduct due to Fraud I will be dismissed. As I was working from my accommodation and performing "Sensible monitoring" of the works, and at times of low risk contractor activities, and informing the contractor that I am available on the phone should it be needed, I thought I was still working. Can this still be classed, indeed proven as fraud by my employer?
Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: UK Employment Law
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Answered in 19 minutes by:
12/5/2017
Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 7 months ago
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50,937
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

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Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 7 months ago

How long have you worked there for?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Only for 6 months Ben
Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Hi there, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. For fraud to occur there must have been some intent by you to defraud the company. Judging by what happened the intent was not there, although you may have negligently claimed these hours without appreciating that you could not do so. Being outside of work, when you are expected to be there, even if you did work-related tasks whilst away, does not automatically mean you are still working. It either has to be covered under your contract, or have been authorised in advance by the employer. So whilst you may have incorrectly claimed payment for these occurrences, that does not automatically mean it is fraud.

Saying that, it does not really matter so much in terms of your employment rights in general.

If you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on a reason which makes a dismissal automatically unfair. These include:

· Discrimination due to a protected characteristic (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc.)

· Taking, or trying to take, leave for family reasons including pregnancy, maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, childbirth and parental leave

In the event that the reason for dismissal fell within any of these categories, the dismissal could be automatically unfair and there could also be a potential discrimination claim.

However, if the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions then you would not be able to challenge it. In that case your only protection would be if you were dismissed in breach of contract. That could happen if you were not paid your contractual notice period (unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct) or the employer had not followed a contractually binding dismissal procedure. If you did not have a written contract in place you would be entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week. Your employer would either have to allow you to work that notice period and pay you as normal, or they will have to pay you in lieu of notice.

So the issue really is whether they believe this is gross misconduct (which can happen even if not fraud) and if you are due notice period. However, any dismissal itself cannot be legally challenged.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

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Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question? You can either reply on here with a quick ‘Yes, thanks’, or select 3, 4 or 5 stars on this page. I can still answer follow up questions if needed to clarify anything for you. Many thanks

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Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 7 months ago
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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