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Dealing with Employee Theft

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 24 Oct 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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[Add a Comment]
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
LP - Your Question:
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.

Our Response:
Your partner would have to read the terms and conditions of his employment contract, which will highlight such issues. The link here should help answer your question further.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 16-Aug-18 @ 10:51 AM
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
Nik - Your Question:
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?

Our Response:
In the first instance, you may wish to read your employment contract regarding the terms you have signed up to (which should outline the incentive structure). There is nothing stopping you raising a grievance if you have tried to solve the issue informally first and you feel you are still being treated unfairly.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 19-Jul-18 @ 10:35 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
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
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