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QVC wraps up employee investigation

Posted August 19, 2009

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— QVC has completed its investigation into suspected irregularities in more than 200 employees' 401K withdrawals, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Employees at the company's Rocky Mount distribution center were turned away from work earlier this month and placed on temporary unpaid leave, pending the outcome of the probe.

Tara Hunter, a spokeswoman for the televised home shopping network, declined to comment on the company's findings.

"Out of continued respect for all of our employees, the specifics and results of the investigation and the individual meetings with employees will remain personal and confidential," she said in an e-mail to WRAL News.

Employees were notified in a letter on Aug. 5 that the company had detected irregularities in emergency withdrawals from their 401K plans and that they would need to prove the hardship loans were legitimate.

Those who could not were subject to discipline, including termination.

The plant, which employs about 900 people in the Rocky Mount and Edgecombe County community, has imposed a salary freeze, cut back on overtime and hours and started paying employees bi-weekly, instead of weekly, employees said. The changes, they said, have forced them to tap into their 401K accounts.

Hunter said employees returning to work would be paid for any loss of scheduled hours during the investigation.

"As the plan administrator of its 401K Plan, it is QVC's responsibility to ensure that the plan is operating properly and complying with all applicable legal requirements, including the distribution of hardship withdrawals," she said.

"Accordingly, QVC initiated the investigation into the alleged irregularities and took appropriate actions in accordance with its internal operating principles."

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  • james27613 Aug 19, 2009

    This would be an IRS matter, not a QVC matter since they
    id'd and terminated the HR person who solicited money for the fake documents.

    you can't take out money that is not vested so any qvc matching monies would still be in the 401k.

    I think the QVC legal dept. will be having to work overtime
    to answer several lawsuits, including violations of privacy laws.

  • SkinsFan Aug 19, 2009

    GO GT Has got it right!!!

  • Go GT Aug 19, 2009

    affirmative- QVC owns the plan but has a outside company administering it. That being said- they have every right to access any of the employees information if they feel that THEIR plan is being cheated. Keep in mind also- on every hardship form the first words are (let me get mine out)..

    "Under federal law, it is a penalty..."

  • Go GT Aug 19, 2009

    If you followed the story from the beginning (which reading the comments left by most- they have not)- one of the HR employees was selling fake documents to employees for $80 each. She would then turn the documents in so the employee would avoid paying any taxes on the funds.

    They caught her and she sang like a bird and named everyone that had paid her. She then was terminated and hence this is why the investigation was started.

    Given these circumstances- the people who paid her for fake documents- DO deserve to be terminated. The ones that had good documentation are back at work with a little paid vacation.

    Please follow the ENTIRE story before saying a company in a "at will" state is trying to be underhanded and term employees to avoid unemployment claims. As a business owner, even if you term an employee, you tend to lose the hearings anyway- even with good documentation.

  • affirmativediversity Aug 19, 2009

    Even someone falsifying documents does not justify a SYSTEMATIC RELEASE of INDIVIDUAL's PRIVILEGED FINANCIAL INFORMATION.

    That's like saying; if someone uses false documents to get a loan from a bank then the bank can release every loan applicants information to the head teller, who in turn, will call all loan applicants out of the deposit line (letting everyone know in the bank these people applied for a loan), make them leave the bank without completing any other service and making them apply all over again but with the teller this time.

    If QVC suspected someone (or a group of people) of falsifying anything they should have called law enforcement in...not viewed it as an opportunity to violate everyone's privacy.

  • pbjbeach Aug 19, 2009

    In my personal opinion businesses an an employees employer needes to stay the he-- out of peoples personal lives an their personal fiscal business aren't their civil right laws that prtohabit employers from poking around into your personal life an fiscal statements. if there isn' t it ceratinly needs to be . In these finicial times i can understand anyone having a finicial emergency to where that they have to have money from a 401-k in order to buy grocerys or pay a doctors or hospitial bills an the monthly mortage as well these are what i personnaly consider a finicial emergency thank you

  • unknown1234 Aug 19, 2009

    who cares what they used their money for. It was their money, and i m sure they paid 40% taxes when they withdrew. I think QVC needs to keep their nose out of it.

  • affirmativediversity Aug 19, 2009

    hereandnow99,

    Vested or not vested, access to information is privileged. No administrator of any 401k should release information to anyone other than the owner of that specific account. By the very fact that these were "401k" accounts means they had to be owned by INDIVIDUALS.
    This information should NEVER have been made available to the HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT of QVC by the 401k Administer Dept. of QVC...THEY SHOULD BE SEPARATE and for good reason.

  • Phrostbite Aug 19, 2009

    I don't understand why it's questionable that hardship loans were taken out, given these tough economic conditions. Eastern NC has felt it harder than most & I'm certain some sposes lost jobs & some homes got or are on the brink of foreclosure.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 19, 2009

    If an employee was fabricating hardship documents (has there been a report on this?), then QVC's hardline stance makes sense. They would basically be lying, and conspiring to lie, to their employer, who is ultimately responsible to the gov't for properly managing the 401K. That would be insubordination.

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