The 53-year-old novelist claims Amanda Donaldson, who worked for her between February 2014 and April 2017 before being sacked for gross misconduct, broke strict working rules by using a business credit card to buy cosmetics and gifts.
Legal papers lodged at Airdrie Sheriff Court in Scotland allege that Donaldson, 35, wrongly benefited to a value of 23,696.32 pounds by spending on a business credit card and taking Harry Potter merchandise.
“I can confirm J K Rowling has taken legal action against her former personal assistant, Amanda Donaldson, following her dismissal for gross misconduct involving a substantial breach of trust,” a spokesperson for the world-famous author said. “As the case is not yet concluded we are not able to comment further and there won’t be any comment from J K Rowling,” the spokesperson said.
Donaldson denies the claims and says the author has “not suffered any loss and is not entitled to damages”.
The civil action suit, in which Rowling is using her married name Joanne Murray, will be heard by Sheriff Derek O’Carroll later this year.
Discrepancies on a business credit card provided to Donaldson were allegedly picked up in February last year revealing a high volume of personal spending. She was suspended after meeting an accountant to discuss the use of the card.
Rowling has alleged that her former PA made a series of unauthorised payments, including 823 pounds at Bibi Bakery, 1,482 pounds at luxury candle company Jo Malone, 3,629 pounds in cosmetic firm Molton Brown, 2,139 pounds in card shop Paper Tiger, and 1,636 pounds in Starbucks.
Rowling also claims Donaldson, who controlled memorabilia requests from fans, used her position to steal a Harry Potter toys including a motorised Hogwarts Express worth 467.56 pounds, a Harry Potter Wizard Collection worth 2,231.76 pounds and a Harry Potter Tales of Beedle The Bard Set worth 395 pounds. The author also believes her former employee bought two cats worth 1,200 pounds and took 7,742 pounds worth of foreign money from a safe.
She alleges that she suffered losses as a consequence of fraud perpetrated against her former PA, who has denied all the claims.