Q&A: Can I sack a staff member for stealing?

Q. I run my own landscape gardening business and employ three staff.  I recently found out that one of them has been taking items from clients’ gardens without permission.  Can I just sack him immediately for this?

In order to ensure that you do not put yourself at risk of any unfair dismissal or other legal challenges, I would advise you to follow the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.  This will mean that you will have to follow some basic steps including investigating the matter and asking your employee to attend a disciplinary hearing at which they will have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or colleague.

If having gathered all of the relevant information during the investigation and hearing the evidence of the employee, you consider that they have committed inappropriate conduct which is sufficiently serious that you should dismiss them for it then you could move to dismiss them without notice.  The employee must be given the opportunity to appeal any decision.

Emma Carter, Solicitor

This article was previously published in the Stamford Mercury.