Theft by employees from pubs and hotels can be a continuing problem and can take many forms.  A barman might help himself to a pint or some food after work without paying for it.  He may ring in sale and pocket the cash or remove cash from the till directly possibly hiding it in empty drinks cans to get it off the premises.  Theft is not new to the hospitality sector, but to protect the bottom line it needs to be addressed as it can involve large sums of money – for example:

  • A bar person was convicted of taking £10,000 from Leicester’s Saffron Lane Working Men’s Club. She was using the “no sale” key on the till rather than ringing everything through.  She was discovered as takings were falling and the steward installed CCTV to find out what was happening.
  • A licensee who ran the Lamplighter in Stratford was recently found guilty of fiddling the tills. He was ringing some drinks sales in as food because he was able to keep all takings on food but 93% of drinks sales were payable to the brewery.

Don’t risk unfair dismissal claims

As an employer you need to know what action you can take if you find an employee has been stealing from your business.  It may be tempting to dismiss them on the spot, but if you do you risk a successful claim for unfair dismissal for failing to follow a proper procedure.

When seeking to discipline or potentially dismiss an employee who you suspect has been stealing from you it is important that you follow your disciplinary procedure and act fairly in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice.  Issues you need to consider are covered in our article “When staff lift more than spirits”.

For more detail on operating a fair disciplinary procedure we have recently also published a best practice guide – A Brief Guide to Disciplining Staffwhich can be accessed here.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.