If you haven’t heard by now, there is a storm a brewing over an accounting mistake pitting David against Goliath. Take a second, read it through, and tell me you can’t at least see both sides of the argument before settling on your own verdict. If you don’t want to read, here’s a quick recap: Notre Dame University fired, and is now going forward with a lawsuit against, a catering employee over an Accounting error made in the Employees favor. Not just any old error, mind you, an error costing over $29,000 because of a careless slip of the finger and proofing of someone’s work. Now it comes down to who’s responsible for what, and Notre Dame is on the offensive.
As the story goes, Sara Gaspar saw this error as it appeared magically (ok, quite unexpectedly) in her account after performing a catering job per her usual duties. Nothing special about this job whatsoever, most likely deserving of the tip amount Notre Dame claims should have been paid, $29.87. Instead Ms. Gaspar’s account ballooned by $29,387, and it’s obvious the 3 was punched by an account-type on their 10-stroke keypad instead of the decimal point, located just below the 3. Ms. Gaspar claims to have called several times to alert the University of the generous error, and eventually she was told there was no mistake by a “supervisor” and they would pass the message along to HR. Can’t figure out why HR, they don’t make accounting tips under “tips” for work performed, but I guess it was handled more a complaint as she mentioned there was a “problem”. That was an understatement for sure. At this point it appears she’s either dumb like a fox or truly thought she would get away with the extra $29,357.13.
When the University finally realized the error only a month later, Ms. Gaspar informed the University she had none of the money left. She had already spent the money on medical bills she had recently racked up and a five year old Jetta. Sensible purchases for someone in her struggling position, but non-sensible logic as to whose money she was spending. She acted in a hurry, perhaps a little too hastily, but how was she to know it wasn’t her lucky day? Her thinking was she had finally received a break, the University of Notre Dame was providing a boost to her livelihood the next few months and it wasn’t anywhere near Christmas season yet. Imagine what they were gonna do then!!
So we arrive at the point where mud is now being slung at Ms. Gaspar by the University in a series of condemning statements and a shiny new lawsuit, asking not only for THEIR error to be reconciled by Ms. Gaspar but for her to cover THEIR attorney’s fees. Surprisingly I didn’t see anything about interest owed, however, but perhaps they can work that in as well. GIVE ME A BREAK Notre Dame!!! Unbelievable!! At this point one has to think to themselves “How is this even possible??” Not only has Notre Dame demonstrated their incompetence while suggesting they are are an institution of higher learning, they now decide their only remedy to the situation is to clog the court system with this totally lopsided case. And by lopsided, I mean a billion dollar institution versus an employee they already fired over this issue, who was living paycheck to paycheck to begin with while taking care of her mother.
I’m not familiar with the actual statutes in place for this type of situation, so I’m just taking an educated guess here. With total disregard to Ms. Gaspar’s failed “attempts” at notifying the University right away, shouldn’t she be in the clear as it was an error made under “Tips” and not under “Wages”? It appears she has a leg to stand on, but to no one’s surprise she says she is having a hard time finding representation on the case, and it’s obvious that the girth of the University of Notre Dame and it’s team of lawyers is the only reason. And of course Ms. Gaspar is now suffering from depression and despair over this, can you blame her??
Upon Further Review, the University of Notre Dame should take the loss and allow Ms. Gaspar to keep the money because it was THEIR mistake unfortunately made in an indefensible cost code, Tips. I think they could make up the missing $30,000 by FIRING their accounting person not for the original error and oversight made but for causing all of this ruckus and dragging the wrongly fired employee in the first place back through this mess. If they didn’t hire anyone to replace them for 6 months, they would easily replace that loss. And Notre Dame comes out looking like the bigger person/entity here. It’s a Win-Win-Win.