Any employer with falling revenues and a sliding reputation would look to reverse these trends as a matter of urgency. Yet when the source of such problems is a dishonest employee falsely absent from work, employers are often left wondering how to tackle matters.
When a Midlands based manufacturing organisation was faced with this exact scenario, they initially tried to manage matters internally, and it was four months before they turned to their legal advisers for help. Four months where they suffered falling sales; four months where they were battling to deploy damage limitation tactics to sustain their reputation; and four months of falling staff morale, with the potential cost of further stress related sickness absence.
Luckily for them, their legal advisers understood the critical need to proactively gather lawful evidence which would irrefutably prove or disprove the claim of false absenteeism.
In this particular case, not only was the employee claiming to be housebound – unable to drive, walk for or any distance or stand for any length of time; but there was also a suspicion by his colleagues and the industry in general, that he was attempting to set up his own business in direct competition with his employer and that theft of intellectual property had occurred. The employer was understandably desperate to resolve matters as swiftly and as efficiently as possible.
Within two days of instructing their legal team, advice had been sought from Expert Investigations and it was decided a three-day surveillance operation would be the best approach to gather the evidence needed.
During the surveillance operation, three investigators observed the employee freely going about daily activities, all of which he had previously declared he was unable to do – driving substantial distances, dressed in smart business attire including carrying a laptop case, holding meetings at coffee shops and hotel receptions. On three occasions he was seen to visit premises belonging to clients of his employer.
All evidence was lawfully recorded by covert means and a full file of evidence including edited video footage, observations and an activity log were submitted to the legal team within three days of the completing the surveillance.
By seeking professional investigative support, the legal team were able to support their client in bringing the situation to a swift and satisfactory conclusion with the use of expert impartial evidence. The employee was dismissed and injunction papers served for breach of contract. Without the use of surveillance evidence, it would have been almost impossible to prove the employee’s dishonesty, and the full effects of his deceit would have only been fully known by the time he was in direct competition with his old employer.
“I have used Expert Investigations over a number of years and have always found their service top notch. They are responsive and helpful in relation to any query no matter how simple or complex, and the team is able to turn big jobs round in very tight timescales. They are always upfront about costs with no hidden add-ones. I would not hesitate to recommend them.” James Tait, Browne Jacobson LLP
David Kearns, founder of Expert Investigations said in relation to this case and other similar cases, “lawyers often tell me, their ability to help their client can be limited by the quality of the evidence they have to work with. Expert Investigations’ reputation is built on our ability to deliver factual, impartial and irrefutable evidence, enabling the legal team to fully deliver for their client.”