Stock loss was a significant issue for the employer in House of Fraser v Christofidou. In 2013 it lost hundreds of thousands of pounds from its Oxford Street store, where the claimant worked. It undertook a large scale investigation into sales of stock by staff, during which it uncovered an eBay account registered in the claimant’s former husband's name at her home address which had been used to sell items stocked at Oxford Street.
The claimant was summarily dismissed for misconduct, the employer having concluded there was a breakdown of trust and confidence arising from her inconsistent and suspicious answers to questions about the account.
The Tribunal found the dismissal had been unfair and also a wrongful dismissal, basically because the employer had failed to seek evidence from the claimant’s former husband, who, she said, had established the eBay account from her address without her knowledge.
The employer's appeal against both findings was upheld by the EAT and the claims dismissed.
The evidence at the Tribunal showed that the employer had pressed for the contact details of the former husband as a witness and it was the claimant herself (who was in contact with him) who declined to pass these on and who failed to adduce evidence from him at the second investigation meeting or the disciplinary or appeal hearings. It had been left to the claimant to pass on the investigator’s contact details to her former husband but there was nothing wrong with that, given that he was not an employee. The claimant had the ability to adduce evidence from him but chose not to do so.