Our Xmas party for staff was recently held at the residence of the Director. Liquor was provided to all staff without any restrictions on use. Two staff members, according to witness reports, removed unopened liquor from the premises. They at the time hid this fact. The one took a towel belonging to someone else in which to wrap the liquor in. The towel was also not returned.
We have suspended both subject tot he outcome of a disciplinary hearing. Our Disciplinary Code clearly lists theft a a dismissable offence.
My question is whether the Code can be applied to the above situation, where the theft took place at premises other than the business premises and outside of normal working hours. Obviously we will argue at the hearing that the trust relationship between employer and employee has been irreparably harmed.
Some advice will be greatly appreciated.