Monday 25 March 2019

'Calculated deception' - IT engineer dismissed after borrowing €50k from employer and colleagues in loan spree

Initially, the man received a loan of €3,000 in April 2017 from his employer ‘on a humanitarian and exceptional basis’

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Gordon Deegan

An IT engineer, who left a trail of debt behind him after borrowing a total of just under €50,000 from six colleagues at his firm, has been sacked for violating the company’s expenses policy.

Initially, the man received a loan of €3,000 in April 2017 from his employer ‘on a humanitarian and exceptional basis’ after the IT engineer in his ‘urgent loan request’ said that he required the money for hospital treatment fees for his father who was diagnosed with cancer.

The IT engineer then secured a loan of $20,000 (aprox €17,200) from his immediate boss in June of last year after telling him  that he needed the money to pay for an additional hospital stay after his father had to go through a triple heart by-pass.

During this time on a business trip to the US, the IT specialist ran up a $5,651 (aprox €4,800) expense bill on the company credit card and had not entered an expense report for approval.

It was during the Irish based company's investigation into the unpaid expense bill that the scale of the man’s loan spree with colleagues was laid bare.

Along with the $20,000 that his boss had provided for the IT engineer’s father’s hospital treatment, the company learned on August 14 last that three other employees had lent the man money in the amounts of $3,000 (aprox €2,500), $3,500 (aprox€3,024), $5,000 (aprox €4,320) and $12,000 (apox €10,369).

On August 22, another company employee came forward to say that had lent the IT specialist €9,000 and only €900 was paid back. Three days later, another employee came forward to say that he had lent the man €3,000 towards the end of July and said that the IT engineer was not reachable and had unfriended the employee on Facebook.

In total, the man borrowed $43,500 (€37,671) from four work colleagues along with an additional €12,000 from two others giving a total of €49,671.

During the investigation, the man claimed that the $20,000 borrowed from his boss for his father’s cancer treatment had been repaid but the Irish based IT specialist company discovered that the money has not been repaid and the sum in still outstanding.

The company also learned that the IT engineer approached a senior leader outside his own normal management chain for a loan of €20,000 in July as his father had complications arising from his cancer treatment.

On July 27 2017, another employee reported that he had been approached by the IT specialist for a loan of €12,000 and he had advised HR of this as he thought that the approach was highly unusual. No money changed hands in either case.

During the course of the investigation, the IT engineer said that on the investigation ‘please don't ask me anything about my Dad, that is personal and you know the story there …. Well I know these things can go one way or another, so if it is headed in a certain direction, then maybe it would be better now to reach an agreement and we close things off nicely. Could we talk about that?’

When asked what he meant by this, the IT engineer went on to suggest that the company could come to a financial arrangement based on him being given stock options in the company.

The man also revealed that LinkedIn had told him to stop spamming other LinkedIn users while his employer had refused a request for him to post a link on the company's website seeking public funding for a personal matter.

On August 24, the company sacked the man for gross misconduct as a result of violating the company’s expense policy.

The firm stated that the dismissal was warranted by the IT engineer’s “calculated deception to get money from his employer”.

The firm stated that the man has not repaid the company.

During the disciplinary process the IT engineer said that he would repay the money but he never has.

The firm stated that the IT engineer owed considerable sums of money, most of which he had borrowed from his work colleagues and this was a fact that he never disclosed to his employer.

The man sued for unfair dismissal at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and the WRC has found that the man’s claim was not well founded.

The man claimed that he was not afforded the principles of natural justice in the company's disciplinary and disciplinary proceedings against him. However, the man did not turn up at the WRC hearing to advance his claim.

According to WRC Adjudication Officer, Gerald McMahon the man provided no excuse for his non-attendance.

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