Upminster distraction theft: Costa Coffee to investigate allegations of 'unethical behaviour' after Dagenham barista raises concerns of pay deductions
PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 August 2019
Allegations of unfair pay deductions at an Upminster Costa Coffee by a Dagenham barista has led to the company launching an independent audit of its franchise partners.
Two men stole £280 from Costa Coffee in Station Lane, Upminster on Sunday, August 4, using sleight of hand.
The workers - one a 21-year-old from Dagenham - say they were told by the franchise owner to put the till right by the end of the night or the money would be deducted from their wages.
The franchise owner has since apologised to the 21-year-old for any "miscommunication" surrounding the incident and confirmed that no money would be deducted from her wages.
Costa Coffee insisted that it is not the company's policy for members of staff to pay back stolen funds.
However, the incident has led to former employees at the cafe, run by Goldex Investments Essex, to also claim that their pay was unfairly deducted while working at the company's two branches in Station Lane.
A Costa Coffee spokeswoman said: "Following several allegations relating to unethical behaviour, we are investigating these matters with those specific partners.
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"Given the serious nature of the allegations, we have today informed all of our individual franchise partners that we will be launching an independent audit into the legal and ethical compliance of their operations, including employment matters.
"We take any allegations of this nature very seriously and would like to reassure team members and customers that we will not tolerate illegal and unethical behaviour in any circumstances under the Costa Coffee brand."
Rainham and Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas also raised concerns of "shoddy working practice" at the cafe with the managing director of Costa Coffee.
Neil Lake responded to the MP's letter on August 20.
He said: "Whilst it is our franchise partner's responsibility as employer to investigate employee allegations, we do expect them to adhere to their commitments to Costa Coffee and we will respond accordingly following the outcome of the investigation."
Jeff, the father of the 21-year-old Dagenham barista, took to Twitter to express his delight that an investigation would be taking place.
He said: "Finally it seems Costa Coffee are going to review franchisees handling of employees.
"Shame they didn't seem to believe my family at the start of it all.
"But that just allowed this story to continue developing. It just wouldn't go away."