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Dealing with Employee Theft

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 18 Jun 2018 | 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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Pd234 - Your Question:
I have recently been dismissed from work for stealing a product but now I am worried that they might send the police over to my house to search it as they have asked for my address before I felt my work place. Is that possible?

Our Response:
It is unlikely the police will be sent to search your home if you have been caught stealing one product.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 19-Jun-18 @ 9:34 AM
I have recently been dismissed from work for stealing a product but now i am worried that they might send the police over to my house to search it as they have asked for my address before i felt my work place. Is that possible?
Pd234 - 18-Jun-18 @ 1:59 PM
Benjy - Your Question:
Okay thank you. In the investigation the chef confirmed tgst he had a missed call from me and that he didnt try returning the call. It has also been confirmed from the lther chef tnag I rang him and told him I had the speaker and he passed it on.They also both confirmed it was back the day I returned to work before I even recieved anything about an investigation.Since the investigation the chef whos speaker it was has also contacted head office saying that it was a misunderstanding he never wanted to make an official complaint he just wanted it back and that he doesnt want to take anything further however my head office are continuing and have taken it to disciplinary. Can they do this?My general manager has a personal issue with me and I feel it is him pushing the investigation on as I have been told by him things like “he wont stop until im sacked” and while the investigation has been ongoing he has made comments like “when you leave you will owe us holiday money”

Our Response:
Your employer does have a right to take the matter to investigation. However, standards of fairness and reasonable behaviour by employers and employees are expected to follow in most situations when dealing with a dispute. You can see more via the link here, which shows there are certain steps your employer should follow.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 5-Jun-18 @ 3:19 PM
I was caught on cctv camera took 4pounds coins and I was dismissed from work but my fear is I don't know if i will be paid for the month??? As I need to pay my rent
Sugary - 5-Jun-18 @ 2:42 PM
Alig2135 - Your Question:
Hi I need some advice, Last week our he manager asked to see me in his office- when I got there he said that there had been an allegation of theft but he didn’t explain to me what the actual allegations where and what evidence they had- apart from the fact I had been in the yard on the forklift truck (this could of been me doing anything as I wouldn’t normally be on the truck but occasionally I have reason too£ I denied any theft and I was suspended - I’m now in limbo as I don’t know what exactly it is they are investigating and what I’m accused off. If I knew I could have a perfectly reasonable explanation. Could someone help explain if I should be told exactly what it is they suspect me off and what they are investigating.

Our Response:
If you have been suspended from work, you have the right to be given full information about the allegations against you and any evidence on which your employer might be relying, please see the Worksmart link here.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 5-Jun-18 @ 10:19 AM
Okay thank you. In the investigation the chef confirmed tgst he had a missed call from me and that he didnt try returning the call. It has also been confirmed from the lther chef tnag i rang him and told him i had the speaker and he passed it on. They also both confirmed it was back the day i returned to work before i even recieved anything about an investigation. Since the investigation the chef whos speaker it was has also contacted head office saying that it was a misunderstanding he never wanted to make an official complaint he just wanted it back and that he doesnt want to take anything further however my head office are continuing and have taken it to disciplinary. Can they do this? My general manager has a personal issue with me and i feel it is him pushing the investigation on as i have been told by him things like “he wont stop until im sacked” and while the investigation has been ongoing he has made comments like “when you leave you will owe us holiday money”
Benjy - 5-Jun-18 @ 8:57 AM
Jared11259 - Your Question:
So I started working at this new place and it had only come to my first day and they staff had me in tears because they way I was being treat but I really need a way of getting money in so I went back my second day and again the staff had reduced me to tears so at dinner I went to the supervisor who by the way was the one that was making me feel so down and I told her I was going to be leaving and would not be coming back and as I was going I nicked a few chocolate bars I know very silly so I was sat out side of the shop waiting for a lift home and the owner of the shop came out and grabbed me of the wall I was sitting on and called me a fat B****** and damanded the chocolate bars back so obviously I gave him the chocolate bars back so legally does he have to pay me for what I worked even tho I know what I did was silly and wrong

Our Response:
Yes, you should still be owed for the hours you worked. If your former employer refuses to pay then you would have to apply for the money via the small claims court. Please see link here .
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 4-Jun-18 @ 12:56 PM
Hi I need some advice, Last week our he manager asked to see me in his office- when I got there he said that there had been an allegation of theft but he didn’t explain to me what the actual allegations where and what evidence they had- apart from the fact I had been in the yard on the forklift truck (this could of been me doing anything as i wouldn’t normally be on the truck but occasionally I have reason too£ I denied any theft and I was suspended - I’m now in limbo as I don’t know what exactly it is they are investigating and what I’m accused off. If i knew I could have a perfectly reasonable explanation. Could someone help explain if I should be told exactly what it is they suspect me off and what they are investigating.
Alig2135 - 4-Jun-18 @ 12:22 PM
Benjy - Your Question:
I am currently under investigation as I went away and had borrowed a collegues music speaker in my room at work while packing. I then went on leave and forgot tbe speaker was in the room. Two days later I rang work and told another chef that I had the speaker in my room and that I was going to ring the collegue it belonged to which I did but he didnt answer. I then rang the other collegue back and asked him to tel the person whos speaker it was. The day I returned to work I got the speaker from my room and put it back at work and the chef was fine with me. Work are diseplining my for theft is this fair?

Our Response:
We cannot comment and say whether this is fair or not, as much depends upon the results of the investigation and what the other sides of the story are. I can only point you in the direction of what the procedure is and how you can challenge it, if you feel you are being treated unfairly.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 4-Jun-18 @ 9:48 AM
Hi! I work at catering cagency, they send me to different places to work. Once I worked at conference, they didn't have any changing room or lockers, just told me to put my handbag in manager's office. Actually, it's not a real office, more like a stockroom for catering accesories, with one wardrobe to keep personal belongings, not locked. Usually the room is locked, but that time its door wasn't even fully closed. When I finished my work I went there to pick up my belongings, I checked my wallet and there was missing £20. I told that immediately catering manager, he said they would check CCTV to investigate. As well I called my agency and the consultant promised to take care of the situation. Few weeks before I lost there my travel card, but no one investigated it. Recently I talked to my agency, the consultant said they didn't call from that conference place, looks like they are not doing anything to explain that theft. As well, my agency is not helpful at all. I know, £20 is not a huge loss comparing to lost phones, but I don't earn much. Can I do anything in my situation???
Nooka - 3-Jun-18 @ 10:01 PM
I am currently under investigation as i went away and had borrowed a collegues music speaker in my room at work while packing. I then went on leave and forgot tbe speaker was in the room. Two days later i rang work and told another chef that i had the speaker in my room and that i was going to ring the collegue it belonged to which i did but he didnt answer. I then rang the other collegue back and asked him to tel the person whos speaker it was. The day i returned to work i got the speaker from my room and put it back at work and the chef was fine with me. Work are diseplining my for theft is this fair?
Benjy - 3-Jun-18 @ 2:08 PM
So I started working at this new place and it had only come to my first day and they staff had me in tears because they way I was being treat but I really need a way of getting money in so I went back my second day and again the staff had reduced me to tears so at dinner I went to the supervisor who by the way was the one that was making me feel so down and I told her I was going to be leaving and would not be coming back and as I was going I nicked a few chocolate bars I know very silly so I was sat out side of the shop waiting for a lift home and the owner of the shop came out and grabbed me of the wall I was sitting on and called me a fat B****** and damanded the chocolate bars back so obviously I gave him the chocolate bars back so legally does he have to pay me for what I worked even tho I know what I did was silly and wrong
Jared11259 - 2-Jun-18 @ 10:01 PM
I took some items from work under the watchful eye of cctv but brought them back the next day. I was charged with gross misconduct and received instant dismissal
earlybird - 1-Jun-18 @ 2:14 PM
Beth - Your Question:
I ran a public house for a number of years a staff member had been taking money from till and also change where I was putting money back anyway I was paying out alot for things and put some taxi receipts tho which I shouldn't have anyway I lost my job and home over it I at the time thought I was doing the right thing when it was wrong

Our Response:
If a member of staff had been taking money from the till, then this should have been reported. The fact you put taxi receipts in when you shouldn't has no bearing on what has gone on before. These are two different matters which have to be dealt with separately.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 31-May-18 @ 10:56 AM
I had a email to tell me there was a discripancys with receipts I wasn't allowed anyone to be with me. Anyway I had put some receipts tho that was to cover what a staff member had stole at the time I thought I was doing the right thing bec I was still putting money into the business such as buffets bbqs etc. I explained what had happened anyway I was given a week to get out wasn't aloud in the pub nor was my husband who wasn't aloud to attend meeting wasn't aloud to work and they also hang onto my bond what can I do
Beth - 30-May-18 @ 8:27 PM
I ran a public house for a number of years a staff member had been taking money from till and also change where I was putting money back anyway I was paying out alot for things and put some taxi receipts tho which I shouldn't have anyway I lost my job and home over it I at the time thought I was doing the right thing when it was wrong
Beth - 30-May-18 @ 8:20 PM
My sonrecently has been supsended pending investigation over apartently encouraging another member of staff to steal. My sonis very frank about hisinnocence and feels he’sbeen escape goated for someone else’s behaviour. My son hasn’t taken anything from the workplace. CCTV over his whole employment will confirm this , the other employee has a witness who happens to be a friend confirming their version of events. The person who is blaming my son for their actions for takingtestersis still employed and my son has been supsended. Essentially my son is guilty until proven innocent and the actual person who has stole has had no furtherer action taken . What rights does my son have?. it seems if you say someone else told you do it that’s a get out of jail free card.
Margetljohns - 25-May-18 @ 1:45 PM
Jeff highlights a few good points but employee theft and fraudneeds to sit at the top of a management agenda. My view is a three tiered approach consisting of education, gap analysis and training. The general belief is from employees that if the chance of being caught is minimal and the consequences insignificant than the opportunity is significantly high. DAVE KEARNS; Fighting Dishonest Employees. It's time to act.
na - 25-May-18 @ 11:12 AM
I work at a fast food place they have free coupons i was useing to get lunch and now they wrote me up yesterday and then today they trying say i stole food free and they will be pressing charges
Candy - 24-May-18 @ 8:06 PM
sorrygirl - Your Question:
I lost my job 3 weeks ago for stealing money I was not arrested or charged I live here in nova scotia what should I expect if anything

Our Response:
We are a UK-based website, so the laws would be different in Nova Scotia. Therefore, unfortunately we cannot advise.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 21-May-18 @ 11:11 AM
i lost my job 3 weeks ago for stealing money i was not arrested or charged i live here in nova scotiawhat should i expect if anything
sorrygirl - 20-May-18 @ 3:37 PM
Seth- Your Question:
Last Monday I was finished from my job at a recycling firm and moved to another job, on Tuesday picked up my possessions from the office and returned home, where I discovered after a long search that my p45 had been taken out of the the envelope by another member of staff and stolen, I know this as my colleague remembered me putting it in the envelope for my line manager to view, and when my colleague came on duty on Tuesday night someone had been in the office and moved the report book, so I know who it is that's stolen it, it's a security office, only security guards should be in there, it has a camera in there, but Im %99 sure it will have been switched off for at least 10 minutes, what I need to know is, what can happen to me if someone uses it, and is this a criminal offence?

Our Response:
You would have to report this directly to your employer. Plus, give HMRC a call to report this too.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 15-May-18 @ 9:39 AM
Last Monday I was finished from my job at a recycling firm and moved to another job, on Tuesday picked up my possessions from the office and returned home, where I discovered after a long search that my p45 had been taken out of the the envelope by another member of staff and stolen, I know this as my colleague remembered me putting it in the envelope for my line manager to view, and when my colleague came on duty on Tuesday night someone had been in the office and moved the report book, so I know who it is that's stolen it, it's a security office, only security guards should be in there, it has a camera in there, but Im %99 sure it will have been switched off for at least 10 minutes, what I need to know is, what can happen to me if someone uses it, and is this a criminal offence?
Seth - 14-May-18 @ 11:58 AM
Okay well I have quite the dilemma, I worked at a gas food station for nearly two years and about 4 months before I got fired I was talked into keeping the food i was supposed to be wasting by other deli workers and the people working the register, it was wrong I wish I had never done it I felt awful afterwards and just when I was about to quit, the manager called me to tell me I wasn't needed in the deli anymore because they found out that the food I was throwing away was being kept not by just me but everyone else working in the store. I have never been more embarrassed and scared of something like this ever happening to me in my life. I never stole in my life and after that stuff at my old work place I can't even find a job anywhere because the boss there keeps telling the people asking about me that I was the only one who stole the food and lost money for the deli it's so humiliating and heartbreaking because i now have two kids and I can't even get a job to support them. I don't know what to do about this. No police were called or charges were pressed but my old job sorta ruined it for me to find work now nd I now its my fault too cause I could've said no to the workers making me think I wouldn't get in trouble for allowing them to manipulate me and taking the food when I wasn't aupposed to. I punish myself everyday because of it but i need to find work to support my two babies but my ex boss won't stop calling everywhere blaming just me. I don't what to do. All the coworkers did it but they didn't get fired or in trouble for it because they all came together to blame it on me just to save themselves and their jobs. Instead of doing the right thing , i took the fall for everyone and now I can't even land a job. I need some kind of help or advice
TeenGirl - 8-May-18 @ 2:15 PM
leigh - Your Question:
Can anyone help me. I just want to see if I can help my daughter she was asked on her shift to do an interview she wasn't sure why just presumed everyone was doing it. She is 18 and was told a very nice story about someone steeling and how he was honest about it, then someone not admitting it and being aggressive. Then told her what he did as a job and asked if he knew why he was there. they then lead her into admitting she stole trying to get her to say she has done it over two years. She didn't but as she was scared said she had taken money. She has a disciplinary coming up and isn't in a union I feel if she goes in again they will manipulate her again. They said they have cctv but we haven't seen it. If there any advice anyone can give us as they wont allow us in the meeting we are scared if she goes in again, they will talk her into paying what she hasn't taken and give her a bad reference.

Our Response:
Your daughter can take in a representative to any subsequent disciplinary interview to help discuss the situation. Your daughter should not feel/be manipulated into saying anything that is untrue.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 26-Apr-18 @ 12:24 PM
can anyone help me. i just want to see if i can help my daughter she was asked on her shift to do an interview she wasn't sure why just presumed everyone was doing it. She is 18 and was told a very nice story about someone steeling and how he was honest about it, then someone not admitting it and being aggressive. Then told her what he did as a job and asked if he knew why he was there. they then lead her into admitting she stole trying to get her to say she has done it over two years. She didn't but as she was scared said she had taken money. She has a disciplinary coming up and isn't in a union i feel if she goes in again they will manipulate her again. They said they have cctv but we haven't seen it. If there any advice anyone can give us as they wont allow us in the meeting we are scared if she goes in again, they will talk her into paying what she hasn't taken and give her a bad reference.
leigh - 25-Apr-18 @ 5:45 PM
My partner done something stupid. He works at a petrol station and there are two people on the tills. He didnt scan a couple of items but showed the cameras he was scanning then took the money and gave the right change whilst putting in the till.(he opened till with key to show camera it opened automatically. He then towards lock up has a two min window to take money from the till before putting in safe, and takes out what he made. And puts money in safe. What is the worst police can do for this? If he confesses to it will he be able to get off with caution. He made such a stupid mistake! And we were in so much need of money because we have kids.
Idiot - 14-Apr-18 @ 3:17 PM
Nipperjet2 - Your Question:
Help please I'm on the point of doing some stupid 3 weeks ago I reassigned from work because I haved stolen they accepted my resignation but when will the police come I'm so scared I don't know what to do

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether the company wishes to take the matter further. I'm afraid we cannot predict what may happen.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 12-Apr-18 @ 10:16 AM
Help please I'm on the point of doing some stupid 3 weeks ago I reassigned from work because I haved stolen they accepted my resignation but when will the police come I'm so scared I don't know what to do
Nipperjet2 - 11-Apr-18 @ 10:16 AM
I left my job voluntary in December having worked there for 20 years. There is an annual general meeting tonite and apparently they are going to raise some issues about missing cheques can they do this without informing me first
Gold - 29-Mar-18 @ 10:31 AM
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