Not sure if this is the right forum, but i thought it might be the most appropiate.
I work in a magazine as a senior journalist, and recently i got caught in a sticky situation. one of our clients, a restaurant, paid for half of their contract in barter credits, and i used up almost half of it ($5k in all) without knowing that i had to seek consent from our bosses.
firstly, i am authorised to use the credits by my editor, and i have always been open about using the credits in the restaurant (such as inviting the colleagues). however our boss (a.k.a the publisher) claims that he knows nothing about the barter, and that he thought the restaurant paid upfront in cash only until recently. now he is pretty damn upset about and although he hasn't told me how he wants to pursue the matter, i am pretty worried about it.
one reason why i mistakenly thought i was able to use it for personal expenditure is because my ex sales director (who left earlier this year), who was in charge of procuring this contract, encouraged us to use it as rumour has it that the restarant was closing down. however, it remains unclear as to why he did not inform our bosses about the barter.
1.out of the four trips i made to the restaurant (there was a minimum spend of $1500 per visit), my editor was there with me on at least one count, where she also ordered a fair share of champagne. and on all four occasions, two colleagues from a sister company was there for the ride as well.
2. we also have barter accounts with other bars and restaurants, but we either were told not to use it, or there was a cap implemented. i have followed all instructions religiously.
3. my HR thinks that i should have informed the boss about the barter, but in my 4 years of working here, i have never spoken to him privately before as there is a hierarchy here. after my editor, there is the sales directors, who should have informed the boss during the handover from my ex sales director.
4. i resigned last week (am serving two months notice), but it has nothing to do with this matter, which was first discussed back in september, and nothing was done about until a day after my resignation where my boss suddenly got the HR to speak with me to find out more about the matter.
in the worst scenario, i am afraid that my boss would make me return the $5k. does he have any legal grounds to do so? i really had zero intention of misusing so much credits. would pleading ignorance help me, even if it's the truth?
thank you very much.