Accused Of Stealing, But Was Set Up!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about accusation of theft:

I do not see eye-to-eye with my boss and we have clashed over several issues that are work related. I work in a retail wireless communication store and my boss recently handled a transaction for a telephone and case I was purchasing with a store credit I had. She was to “ring up” the phone and case and let me know if I owed any additional money from the credit I received. The next day when I went into work, she asked me if I had paid for the case. I told her I thought it had been rung up with the phone since she was the one who was to handle this transaction. I offered to pay for the case if she insisted it wasn’t included in the original transaction. She said she would get back to me.

A few days later I was called into her office, and told I was being accused of stealing the case. I was put on “suspension pending further investigation”. I am livid that she has set me up, as these charges are completely false. She tried before to get a co-worker fired for the same thing, but he had a receipt for his transaction since he was paying cash. In my case, it was all with my store credit so I firmly believe she saw an opportunity and took it. This woman obviously doesn’t realize that it is bad enough to trump up charges and fire somebody for it, but to accuse someone of theft that can hurt their reputation and future employment is down right malicious. What should I do? I belong to a union but have been told that our union is not a “strong” union and I am concerned that they might not “go to bat” for me. What can I do to help defend myself against these false allegations? What recourse do I have to not only defend myself, but also make sure she is held responsible for her lies? Please help.

Signed, Accused

Dear Accused:

You are required under your union’s collective bargaining agreement to follow the steps and rules of filing a grievance and to follow its procedures. Any deviation of yours in this procedure may and most likely will result in a dismissal of your claim. Follow the rules and it’s irrelevant if your union is weak. Your national is strong and start with your union rep OK? Good luck.Working where the spirit of WEGO is lacking is difficult; nevertheless, your best road to fair treatment is through established channels.

Dan Kearney