What is workplace fraud?
Workplace fraud occurs where employees misdirect company or client assets by falsifying information. Examples of workplace fraud might include embezzlement, falsified expense reports, falsified time sheets or hours, or misused sick days.
Some employers, particularly financial institutions, are on a constant lookout for workplace fraud, since they have certain duties to their clients to manage funds appropriately.
Have you been terminated for workplace fraud?
Unfortunately for many employees, employers often take a "shoot first, ask questions later" approach to suspected cases of employee fraud. That means employees are often terminated for cause without a full and fair workplace investigation being conducted.
Does intention matter?
Yes. The word "fraud" implies deliberate deception. Generally speaking, intent is a key factor in many terminations for cause. Your employer may not appreciate or care about this distinction, but the courts consider an honest mistake to be far less severe than deliberate fraud. While mistakes of sufficient severity or carelessness can rise to the level of "just cause" in some circumstances, a lack of intent remains a strong defence to allegations of workplace fraud.
What if my employer reports me to the police?
If your employer reports you to the police, you could be entitled to extra damages if a court finds that you were terminated without cause. First, the court might find that the police report made it more difficult for you to secure re-employment. The court may even award you aggravated, moral and/or punitive damages if it finds that your employer's police report was frivolous or malicious.
What should I do if I am being investigated for workplace fraud?
First, we recommend you contact an employment lawyer immediately for advice on your specific situation, since what you say and do in the course of the investigation will be put under a high degree of scrutiny. Second, cooperate fully with your employer. You have no "right to remain silent" as if this were a criminal case. Any dishonesty or secrecy in the course of the investigation may compound the misconduct, even if the underlying accusations have no merit. Choosing not to speak or failing to explain your actions can result in your termination for cause, and your silence or non-cooperation will be held against you.
What can I do if I have been terminated for workplace fraud?
If you have been terminated for workplace fraud, we highly recommend you contact a qualified employment lawyer who can help you determine whether you have a cause of action for wrongful dismissal against your former employer.
When considering legal action, remember that you have a presumptive right to reasonable notice of termination or pay in lieu thereof. If you have been terminated for cause, your employer will need to prove so in court. It may be, for instance, that you were terminated based on mere suspicion or conjecture, which is unlikely to hold up under judicial scrutiny.
What can Hyde HR Law do for me?
The lawyers at Hyde HR Law are experts on just cause terminations. If you are being investigated or have been terminated for workplace fraud, we have the expertise to advise you as to the strength of your case, guide you while you are under investigation, and represent you in subsequent wrongful dismissal proceedings. We have negotiated settlements on behalf of countless clients who have been terminated for workplace fraud. Contact us today.