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Dealing with Employee Theft

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 13 Aug 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Dealing With Employee Theft

Stealing from your employers is not acceptable under any circumstances. Whether it’s just taking a few notepads and pens from the stationery cupboard to money going missing from a till or to an outright attempt to defraud your employer, any of these actions constitutes theft and is unacceptable behaviour regardless of your motives.

Why Employees Steal

When caught either in the act of stealing or when having to confess for one reason or another later, research has shown that many employees cite the fact that the company made it so easy to do so and, therefore, the temptation was too good to resist, even though their overall ethical beliefs would know that stealing was wrong.

The surprising fact would seem to be that employees who have been caught stealing have not been under any real financial pressures to do so. Many of them will point to having observed other senior members of staff helping themselves to this or that and so believed it was perfectly acceptable for them to follow suit. In other instances, perceived injustices against them, feeling undervalued or the way they’ve been treated by their bosses have also been cited as other reasons why they have stolen from employers.

Investigating Suspicions of Theft

In dealing with the possibility of theft, a company must seek to gather some kind of hard, tangible evidence that theft has occurred and that they can link that to a particular person. Accusing somebody of theft is a highly risky move to take unless you have hard evidence to back it up. Obviously, the likes of CCTV can help prove guilt in certain circumstances. Computer records are another useful tool in detection.

Other signs might be where sudden or even gradual changes in an employee’s incompetence or carelessness are not in keeping with their usual performance, although it must be said that this alone does not provide hard enough evidence to confront them. This example is only a supposition though and unless you’ve hard evidence to support your beliefs, there is nothing you can do except keep a discreet but watchful eye on the person you suspect until or unless they slip up and virtually hand you the evidence on a plate.

Seek Legal Advice Before Confronting an Employee

In the event that a suspected employee isn’t caught in the act of theft nor have they confessed, once you feel you have gathered enough evidence to support your theory more firmly, you need to present that to your company’s legal advisor first of all. If they feel you have a watertight case with enough evidence to prove their guilt then it’s important that you conduct any interview with the person in a calm and rational manner.

You should always try not to give them too much advanced notice, if any, that you wish to have a chat with them in private. This is because if they are guilty, advanced warning might enable them to concoct lies or alibis as to why they couldn’t have been involved. Just simply and politely say that you just need a brief chat after work and not give them any indication that it might be about a particularly serious issue. On the other hand, if you don’t feel an interview is quite yet justified, it may be that you can lay certain ‘traps’ or ‘bait’ in such an unobtrusive manner that would not cause the person to become suspicious that you may end up getting your suspicions confirmed that way.

The Interview

If you opt for the interview, however, you need to tell them the reason why you wanted to see them, explain the situation in a calm and rational manner and then give them the right to respond. At first, they might simply refute your claims and stand their ground but the more hard evidence you can introduce after they’ve finished speaking, the more likely they’ll buckle under the pressure and confess. They may not, of course, which is the point at which you may need to seek further legal advice about pursing the matter in court, if it’s a serious case.

The fact of the matter is though that before it gets to the confrontation point, you need to have hard evidence and to seek legal advice about how to proceed in the correct manner as it can be very risky to your own reputation and could even result in legal action being taken against you for slander, if your assumptions have been totally unsubstantiated.

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Hi,I work in retail and recently a rep dropped in some chocolate as samples.A colleague of mine mentioned in front of other staff that these items were free.I ate two of them recently but the manager is now claiming I have broken trust and that these were to be returned to the rep.I paid the equivalent for the value of the items and apologised but I am concerned this could escalate and become an issue for me.I have worked for this company for nearly two decades but only two years with this particular manager.What could they do?
Jim - 13-Aug-19 @ 7:39 PM
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Mohamed Askri - 10-Jul-19 @ 12:45 AM
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Mohamed Askri - 7-Jul-19 @ 6:21 PM
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Mohamed Askri - 7-Jul-19 @ 6:21 PM
I have had a few small items stolen at work, one from my locked locker, and the rest from my work desk. 2 of the 8 items have been found but the rest have gone. One item was a 50th birthday present from my parents. I have a good idea who is doing it, it is the same person who is subjecting me to harassment, victimisation and bullying, but I have no tangible proof. It has got so bad that I am seeking employment elsewhere. All these thefts and everything else has been reported but nothing has been done. The last item taken was found and my line manager gave me a shouting at for leaving it in the place he found it, he would not listen to me that I had not moved the item from my desk. What I am asking is this:- is there anything I can do against Interserve for the way they have treated me when I find a new job and leave. They have made me feel like I am the one in the wrong here, not listened to and hardly spoken to aat work. Thank you for your time.
Stumpy - 4-Jul-19 @ 1:28 PM
I have been suspended from work as I have been accused of stealing umbrella from the lost property box can you advise please
Ruth - 22-Jun-19 @ 10:54 AM
I have been accused of theft and resigned from my position due to other staff being made aware and health issues. I have not committed theft but their is a discrepancy on income even though I am the manager their are other management team that has had access to the money and other staff. The company has continued with the investigation after resignation which I understand is right and has said that they may go to police depending on outcome will I be informed of outcome and how long can this take. I am sick with worry and after 12 years of employment feel singled out in this instance.
Rhian - 18-Jun-19 @ 10:43 AM
A friend of mine has been suspended from work under investigation she was a really good hard dedicated worker never stepped out of line did all the overtime and did more than expected but recently has been found stealing, willshe still be sacked even tboughshe has never done this before and is having financial difficulties.
Nanjoes - 11-Jun-19 @ 12:38 AM
a woman come in to the shop to spend a gift cardshe had four pounds left on it and asked for the money i said i am not allowed to give you money back but you can have anything that amount the woman told me to stick the card up my arse and walked off so i put in my pocket knowing she would come back witch she did reported me for pinching the gift card now i have been sacked
flo - 18-May-19 @ 5:52 PM
Hi, my son was friends with a colleague who worked in a phone shop. The friend traded in a few phones and put the money in my sons account as he could not use his own card as he was an employee. My son now works work this company,his card has obviously flagged up and is being investigated for fraudulent trade ins. My son has just claimed he knows nothing during investigation as advised . he did however keep a small amount as friend said he could. This was a year ago,no CCTV.He has been investigated, suspended and has been asked to provide bank statements. He wasn't working there at the time.his bank account has been closed for 2 months,it's still possible to get statements but he has no photo ID.he has been.told bank statements or dismissal in as many words. Does he have to provide statements? As this will implicate him although he had no idea the phones were actually the property of the business. Any help appreciated.
. - 20-Mar-19 @ 5:11 PM
Hi have been accused of theft 12 weeks ago but still working for the company nothing has been done. But he says he wants the moneyback .what do you think will happen
J - 15-Mar-19 @ 8:47 AM
Hi My husbands boss has put excessive cctv in her business, only where my husband works, locked back offices installed mortice locks, refused to touch the till or deal with money or take money from customers. He didn't think twice about the cctv but when she got them installed, 4 cameras above him in a SMALL SPACE! My husband says he thinks she's going to accuse him of stealing. They no longer have the same relationship they had when she opened her business. He used to love going to work because he was doing his dream job. He's now struggling to sleep at night, and feels that he still has to go to work as we are a family of 6 and we could be doing with the cash. I would rather have my husband home than have him put up with this. He's now miserable. I actually believe that he is now suffering from depression and has been put on 3 blood pressure tablets. She used to depend on him totally and now he's not good enough. She only speaks of takings being down but bearing in mind he DOESN'T HANDLE MONEY AT ALL! now she thinks he is stealing food?! She has cctv EVERYWHERE. She hasn't asked him outright but he says he just gets the feeling and now a family member of hers has told them that she suspects him of stealing food. He's 35 years old, a hardworking husband, often 2 jobs at a time to keep a roof over his families head. He has NEVER been on any benefits! He's putting up with this for 180 per week minimum wage part time. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNFOUNDED! Is there any help you can give? He's at his wits end and totally ASHAMED that she thinks this of him. This is also a family run. Business - she has already sacked 2 people and another left in a YEAR! Is there any help you can give at all because he doesn't know what to do and what his rights are. He's too proud to ask for help. This has being going on for months, I guess I'm just looking for help anywhere, any help at all....
Hector - 7-Feb-19 @ 7:10 PM
A colleague of mine was seen on cctv today going into my bag removing my phone charger and taking it home, I’ve confronted him and he’s being very abusive and making light of the fact he’s taken my property as it was only in a carrier bag. What can I do?
Sue - 30-Dec-18 @ 6:14 PM
Hi was at work today at busy deli.and some random guy goes into our back store entrance and went to our locker which locks not provided he stole sum amount of money cigarettes forom myself and 2 other employers bags. what is my rights in this matter
Gic - 24-Oct-18 @ 4:42 PM
I have been accused of theft and my employer is holding my wages back and they have not been in touch or reply to my email, what can I do?
Milly - 18-Sep-18 @ 4:41 AM
Help - Your Question:
HiSomeone I know has been caught taking a bottle of drink from work which is provided to patients. Is he likely to be sacked?

Our Response:
We cannot possibly predict whether your colleague will be dismissed. It all depends upon how his employer views the matter.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 4-Sep-18 @ 10:41 AM
Hi Someone I know has been caught taking a bottle of drink from work which is provided to patients.Is he likely to be sacked?
Help - 30-Aug-18 @ 6:26 PM
My partner works In a pharmacy and has recently got caught taking viagra. What do you think will happen now? His worked there for 5 years and has never done anything like this before.
LP - 14-Aug-18 @ 8:40 PM
Should the employer call the police if the employee stole the money?Can we come to a compromise without the police?
Steve - 26-Jul-18 @ 3:32 PM
Darknite - Your Question:
I recently pocked some of the tips from work it wasn't much but my boss has found out and sacked me he is refusing to pay me for my week lying on and the week I worked prior to getting dismissed it is a family run business but what upset me was when he pulled me in the office he threatened to stove my head in with a hammer and delete it off the cctv I'm now scared to ring back to ask for my wages he also fiddles the books I was working 30-40 hours a week and was only getting payslips for 22 hours what can I do they owe me about 350.00 and all this was over £5.00

Our Response:
The link here, should tell you all you need to know about making a claim. If you have worked the hours, you are owed the money. If you write a letter or send an email requesting the money first, and your employer doesn't pay you in a given time(i.e a few weeks), then you would have the option to take the matter further.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 19-Jul-18 @ 11:35 AM
My employer is an independent furniture retailer. It sells branded high end price beds. Each supplier gives incentives on each bed sale. For the last year the new manger and bed buyer have claimed everyone's incentives - and kept it quiet. Myself and two colleagues have been told by the manager that you only get incentives after a year of being loyal to the furniture retailer. The buyer has hurled verbal abuse at us. The owner of the company has said that incentives come from the suppliers not his furniture store. The owner is trying to scrap the incentive scheme. We want to raise a grievance against the new manager and the buyer. Can we do so ? We feel that it is theft from one employee against another. Or do we see independent legal advice?
Nik - 18-Jul-18 @ 8:21 AM
I recently pocked some of the tips from work it wasn't much but my boss has found out and sacked me he is refusing to pay me for my week lying on and the week I worked prior to getting dismissed it is a family run business but what upset me was when he pulled me in the office he threatened to stove my head in with a hammer and delete it off the cctv I'm now scared to ring back to ask for my wages he also fiddles the books I was working 30-40 hours a week and was only getting payslips for 22 hours what can I do they owe me about 350.00 and all this was over £5.00
Darknite - 17-Jul-18 @ 10:05 PM
Ree - Your Question:
I work for a family run business and I was informed yesterday by one of my colleagues that the owner thinks I’m punching from the till and has told the other colleagues there suspicions without speaking to me first and no evidence the person has told me I confidence I dint know what to do as I need to defend myself without putting my colleague in it Ps there are 4 other people that use my till so do o speak up or wait till they come to me as I know there is no evidence because I have not done it I’m no thief I’m really angry and want to kic off advise please ????

Our Response:
Your only option is to speak with your employer directly, or raise a grievance with the way the situation has been dealt with, please see link here . You don't have to divulge to your employer which colleague has given the information. The only other alternative option is to keep quiet and wait to see if your employer makes an accusation. By the sounds of it, someone is stealing from the company and your employer at some point will wish to find out who that person is.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 9-Jul-18 @ 10:57 AM
I work for a family run business and I was informed yesterday by one of my colleagues that the owner thinks I’m punching from the till and has told the other colleagues there suspicions without speaking to me first and no evidence the person has told me I confidence I dint know what to do as I need to defend myself without putting my colleague in it Ps there are 4 other people that use my tillso do o speak up or wait till they come to me as I know there is no evidence because I have not done it I’m no thief I’m really angry and want to kic off advise please ????
Ree - 8-Jul-18 @ 1:08 PM
I stupidly stole a product from work and was caught. They let me go and said the police will not be contacted also terminated my employment. I was not payed my last wages. Can they not pay me due to theft. I have not recieved anything from them and its been 2 weeks. I'm too scared to contact my managers or head office. what should i do?
Stephy2704 - 30-Jun-18 @ 10:22 AM
Iv been lost jobs (i work there only bank staff sometime didnt work therefor 2month.)and My boss send me message the he will unemploy me becise he herd the in my previuse job iv beeb stilling somethinh (thats no true and wosnt even raport to police )-i didnt get pay my last waige And I still wainting . can he stoped pay me ? without prove The Im still somethi g from his company like almost 1 year ago? police was i form in past about stilling cos few people lost money (Me to ) and 3 residence was misst gold neckles. thats was happen when I was on holidays .case was close becouse wasnt any prove and niw he said he thing its me bocouse someone tald him the i was ssack for stilling?
marysia - 28-Jun-18 @ 10:39 PM
@KHB - that's really strange that someone wouldn't take the whole amount. The bank cannot do anything as you have been given the money. If it's cash only, your employer would need to have filmed it to prove it :(
Jeso - 25-Jun-18 @ 12:41 PM
Jeff - Your Question:
I work in a warehouse for an agency and I have been suspended from work because they believe either me or my best friend has stolen from someone's locker. If it was my friend and not me, can I still be suspended just because I am associated with him.

Our Response:
You can be suspended until the investigations have taken place. Please see link here , which will explain more.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 25-Jun-18 @ 10:36 AM
I work in a warehouse for an agency and I have been suspended from work because they believe either me or my best friend has stolen from someone's locker. If it was my friend and not me, can I still be suspended just because I am associated with him.
Jeff - 24-Jun-18 @ 12:06 AM
Hello so today I took 100 out of the cash machine with the receipt to prove it I went in to work hung my bag up because there isn’t any lockers which is annoying I worked on the shop floor came all the way home to find £40 has been taken out of my purse in my bag I was crying because it’s heart breaking and I would never do that to any one I rang the store and told them and they are apparently going to do a investigation on it but what can I do to get my money back it was for rent and I’m totally heart broken can I ring the bank and see what they can do ? Need advice ASAP ??????
KHB - 23-Jun-18 @ 10:25 PM
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