Home > HR Matters > Dealing with Employee Theft

Dealing with Employee Theft

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 25 Apr 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
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
Mcee - Your Question:
My sister is working in a botique store as a store supervisor. A few months after she started working (april), she noticed that their stocks in their inventory did not match. She asked their stockman about it & told her that this must be misplaced in the room so she didnt think about it. However, this happened for several months already, she's getting suspicious but ahe doesnt have evidence wether someones taking the products from the stockroom because the store did not have cctv. She asked the head office if they can install cctv so they will know what's going on in the store but there was no action. During the audit in the store in november it was confirm that there were indeed missing stocks/products. However, the problem was she only asked for monthly inventory & not weekly inventory during those months (april-november). She was transferred to a different store (same company) from mid november to march and during the next audit, she learned that were still missing stocks in the previous store she was working with despite that she no longer works there. Now, the company is putting up a legal action against her & her staff. It wanted them to pay the totat amount of losses (650,000) or else the company would continue to file a case against them for "qualified theft" without bail. They wanted them to go to the fiscal lawyer they send the case with to negotiate for the payment. They also want my sister to resign or terminate her. She opted for resignation. My question is could the company do this despite not knowing who the real thief is? My sister did not do anything wrong except neglecting to do the weekly inventory. But she never took stocks from the store. I really need help on this matter. I did not want my sister to pay a big amount even if she did not do anything wrong. If there was only a cctv during the previous months, she would have able to know who did the theft.

Our Response:
We cannot comment on the actions of her employer who has possibly conducted an investigation. If your sister did not fulfil the requirements of her contract regarding the timings of inventory's then her employer would have recourse to complain or terminate her contract. However, your sister would have to take professional legal advice regarding the matter of being implicated in the theft, as it is beyond our remit to advise.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 27-Mar-18 @ 10:33 AM
My sister is working in a botique store as a store supervisor. A few months after she started working (april), she noticed that their stocks in their inventory did not match. She asked their stockman about it & told her that this must be misplaced in the room so she didnt think about it. However, this happened for several months already, she's getting suspicious but ahe doesnt have evidence wether someones taking theproducts from the stockroom because the store did not have cctv. She asked the head office if they can install cctv so they will know what's going on in the store but there was no action. During the audit in the store in november it was confirm that there were indeed missing stocks/products. However, the problem was she only askedfor monthly inventory & not weekly inventory during those months (april-november). She was transferred to a different store (same company) from mid november to march and during the next audit, she learned that were still missing stocks in the previous store she was working with despite that she no longer works there. Now, the company is putting up a legal action against her & her staff. It wanted them to pay the totat amount of losses (650,000) or else the company would continue to file a case against them for "qualified theft" without bail. They wanted them to go to the fiscal lawyer they send the case with to negotiate for the payment. They also want my sister to resign or terminate her. She opted for resignation. My question is could the company do this despite not knowing who the real thief is? My sister did not do anything wrong except neglecting to do the weekly inventory. But she never took stocks from the store. I really need help on this matter. I did not want my sister to pay a big amount even if she did not do anything wrong. If there was only a cctv during the previous months, she would have able to know who did the theft.
Mcee - 26-Mar-18 @ 8:35 AM
I work in care I reported somebody for sexual harassment which had already been reported by somebody else who felt she was not being listened to and iverified what she said as same thing happened to me, that day I supposedly took a roll up from a clients tobacco pouch for myself, witnessed by another member of staff? I wasn’t allowed back into work, iworkbankshifts and was told my contract has been terminated, do I have any rights, as matter was not looked into what so ever was just hear say
K - 20-Mar-18 @ 1:48 PM
Ging - Your Question:
I fill monthly time sheets in and for the past two month I have been booking down certain times but leaving earlier and apparently my boss has been watching my leaving times by cctv and jotting down the times.I haven't benefited from it as the wages were paid as seen on camara. I was asked into a meeting about it and I said yes I had been leaving early but thought they might have warned me earlier than approximately 12 times they recorded me. I have been suspended awaiting what will happen next?

Our Response:
If you have left earlier than your contracted times, you will have been seen to have benefitted from it. Plus, you have breached the terms of your employment contract. We cannot predict what may happen, please see link here , which shows you more about the disciplinary process.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 19-Mar-18 @ 3:34 PM
Stupid - Your Question:
Iv work in our salon for over a year and freely use my bosses credit card to order stock I stupidly saved her card on my asda app and done some shopping ‘for the salon’ but after this everytime I done my shopping the monies been taken from her account her card was saved as a default card on my phone unknown to me everytime I payed for something it automatically took monies from her account for the past 5 months it’s about £1500 I would never freely shop online groceries or other stupid stuff using her card iv so many credit cards and shop so much it’s beyond me how I didn’t notice iv offered to pay her back straight away but I think I’m still gony get blamed for stealing I’m sick the thought of it what will I do ?

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether this can be put down to being a genuine oversight, whether you noticed first or whether your employer did etc. Although, it is impossible to predict what your employer may decide. You can see more via the link here.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 19-Mar-18 @ 3:13 PM
I fill monthly time sheets in and for the past two month I have been booking down certain times but leaving earlier and apparently my boss has been watching my leaving times by cctv and jotting down the times.I haven't benefited from it as the wages were paid as seen on camara. I was asked into a meeting about it and I said yes I had been leaving early but thought they might have warned me earlier than approximately 12 times they recorded me. I have been suspended awaiting what will happen next?
Ging - 19-Mar-18 @ 12:32 AM
Iv work in our salon for over a year and freely use my bosses credit card to order stock I stupidly saved her card on my asda app and done some shopping ‘for the salon’ but after this everytime I done my shopping the monies been taken from her account her card was saved as a default card on my phone unknown to me everytime I payed for something it automatically took monies from her account for the past 5 months it’s about £1500 I would never freely shop online groceries or other stupid stuff using her card iv so many credit cards and shop so much it’s beyond me how I didn’t notice iv offered to pay her back straight away but I think I’m still gony get blamed for stealing I’m sick the thought of it what will I do ?
Stupid - 16-Mar-18 @ 4:58 PM
ragged - Your Question:
I do home care I was accused of stealing a dress off an elderly lady.i didnt.2 days later I went with another carer and we found dress straight away customer apologised but then said it was unprofessional fir me to go even though she at the time said it was fine now ive been suspended and theyve listed accused of theft.the dress was found.goibg to customers despite being told not to.untrue not at any poibt was I told not to go to customers

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your employment contract or staff handbook, which will specify what you can and cannot do with regards to clients.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 16-Mar-18 @ 3:48 PM
i do home care i was accused of stealing a dress off an elderly lady..i didnt.2 days later i went with another carer and we found dress straight away customer apologised but then said it was unprofessional fir me to go even though she at the time said it was fine now ive been suspended and theyve listed accused of theft...the dress was found .goibg to customers despite being told not to...untrue not at any poibt was i told not to go to customers
ragged - 16-Mar-18 @ 3:34 PM
Fatboy - Your Question:
I am under investigation by my employer for theft of some food. I was confronted two days ago and asked if I took food. I hadnt so I said no. They then showed me cctv of me entering a fridge and coming out. I agreed it looked suspicious, but also explained that it is so hot in the hospital I work in that sometimes I go in there to cool down. They asked why when I left I had my hand behind my back. I couldnt think why except maybe taking my keys from my back pocket. They have said I was the only one in there, but there were 3 catering staff working that day, and they are not being investigated. What should I do next

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here, which explains the process and both your employer's and your rights in the given situation.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 16-Mar-18 @ 2:05 PM
I am under investigation by my employer for theft of some food. I was confronted two days ago and asked if I took food.. I hadnt so i said no.. They then showed me cctv of me entering a fridge and coming out. I agreed it looked suspicious, but also explained that it is so hot in the hospital i work in that sometimes i go in there to cool down.. They asked why when i left i had my hand behind my back.. I couldnt think why except maybe taking my keys from my back pocket.. They have said i was the only one in there, but there were 3 catering staff working that day, and they are not being investigated.. What should i do next
Fatboy - 15-Mar-18 @ 8:15 PM
i have just been dismissed from work for theft of monies, which i owed up to, the police have been contacted reference ths, i have been on antidepressants for along time,due to having breakdown a few years back, i been a model employee for my entire period of employment, and is completely out of character, i have never been in trouble with the police, i have repaid the money , even though work said they couldn't accept as the bank had all ready refunded the money £45.00, i asked them to hold on to it until the outcome by the police had been decided , which they have done, will any of the above be taken into account when i/m dealt with by the police ?
marty - 14-Mar-18 @ 12:42 PM
I have recorded fact of stealing money from the till in my little business by one if my employee. I have reported on police but they filed without investigation as a low level offence. I like to take civil action against this person. Which court should I choose to make a claim against this person??
Kika - 7-Mar-18 @ 3:51 PM
Rusty - Your Question:
Hi just want to know if they can fired me when one of my production manager that he thinks that im stealing the product we making.i work on this company jusy I dont wanna mention it we make paper towel and toilet paper and im a forklift driver.i do 12 hours shift 7 days rooster.im working on days shift and just finish and went to store 1 where we keep or put the finish product on the pallet.so I grab a peper towel in one sealed bag contains 3 roll of ppaper towel so I put 9 rolls all together.so when im about to go and look for one of my supervisor or production manager to ask if I could have some of this paper towel.so what happen is just trying to close the zipper of my bag where I put the paper towel then suddenly the production manager walking and I know he was doing a stock take at that time and he didnt see me actually putting any paper towel on my bag he just say to me or Russell dont forget your coffee mugs that I put on top of the pallet and I answer him ok thanks to my production manager.and he dont know or he didnt ask me if whats on your bag.im the one who told him that hi and saying his name and asking him if its ok if I can take some of paper towel while opening wide my bag and show it to him and he reacted what are you doing Russell thats not an excuse what you doing.and I ask him thats why I ask you if its ok if I can take some and saying to me what are you doing to me with feelings like upset and anwer him back thats why I ask I know I already put it on my bag and about to look for you and ask if I can take some.so what I did I put it back where I get it and walk to the toilet and wash my hand and went to the get and clock out.after 1 hour he call me and said dont turn up on your night shift tomorrow and your suspended with pay and kust come tomorrow 10pm and we talk to the office and ask me to bring anyone who I want or bring your union representative or anyone just want to know what will happen to me if they will fired me or give me my first written warning. Thanks

Our Response:
It is difficult to anticipate what your employer may decide. Regardless of your explanation and that you asked your production manager could you take the towels, you had already put the towels in your bag without permission which can be easily be viewed as stealing. You can see more about the disciplinary procedure and process here . The terms and conditions of your employment contract may also mention something about the repercussions of taking products out of the workplace.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 2-Mar-18 @ 10:57 AM
Hi just want to know if they can fired me when one of my production manager that he thinks that im stealing the product we making.i work on this company jusy i dont wanna mention it we make paper towel and toilet paper and im a forklift driver.i do 12 hours shift 7 days rooster.im working on days shift and just finish and went to store 1 where we keep or put the finish product on the pallet.so i grab a peper towel in one sealed bag contains 3 roll of ppaper towel so i put 9 rolls all together.so when im about to go and look for one of my supervisor or production manager to ask if i could have some of this paper towel.so what happen is just trying to close the zipper of my bag where i put the paper towel then suddenly the production manager walking and i know he was doing a stock take at that time and he didnt see me actually putting any paper towel on my bag he just say to me or Russell dont forget your coffee mugsthat i put on top of the pallet and i answer him ok thanksto my production manager.and he dont know or he didnt ask me if whats on your bag.im the one who told him that hi and saying his name and asking him if its ok if i can take some of paper towel while opening wide my bag and show it to him and he reacted what are you doing Russell thats not an excuse what you doing.and i ask him thats why i ask you if its ok if i can take some and saying to me what are you doing to me with feelings like upset and anwer him back thats why i ask i know i already put it on my bag and about to look for you and ask if i can take some.so what i did i put it back where i get it and walk to the toilet and wash my hand and went to the get and clock out.after 1 hour he call me and said dont turn up on your night shift tomorrow and your suspended with pay and kust come tomorrow 10pm and we talk to the office and ask me to bring anyone who i want or bring your union representative or anyonejust want to know what will happen to me if they will fired me or give me my first written warning. Thanks
Rusty - 1-Mar-18 @ 3:05 PM
Mammarobo76 - Your Question:
My employer has stolen from my wages for over a year. What can I do. I have reported it to action fraud and police and GMC. It’s still getting investigated and On the next stages what else can I do. No matter what my employer is not getting away with it. And I expect to compensated too for the loss of earnings as well as other things.

Our Response:
If you have reported it to Action Fraud and the police and it is being investigated, then there is little more you can do.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 27-Feb-18 @ 2:22 PM
My employer has stolen from my wages for over a year. What can I do. I have reported it to action fraud and police and GMC. It’s still getting investigated and On the next stages what else can I do. No matter what my employer is not getting away with it. And I expect to compensated too for the loss of earnings as well as other things.
Mammarobo76 - 26-Feb-18 @ 7:49 PM
Looking for advice. I work in retail and a friend/colleague I know has been shoplifting things/ taking bags home with merchandise/ not putting through all items on the tills. My manager has CCTV footage and he is now aware he has been caught. Basically, my question being will this result in police investigation like can he be arrested? Is it employers decision to do this or just dismiss him? Worried and would like advice thanks
Hammy - 15-Feb-18 @ 1:27 AM
@Zaki - can you offer to replace the money? If you do, your employer might not press charges, but it is a chance you would have to take :(
AsiaM - 12-Feb-18 @ 1:54 PM
Hi, I worked as a duty manager in a hotel, in my entire career I've never taking something not mine...I'm a trustworthy person, in Dec the 24th xmas eve I had a phone call saying my mum in critical conditions and rushed to the hospital, I then couldn't do anything because she's abroad and I'm far away from home I carried on working and pretending that there's nothing wrong as we all do, on the 31st of Dec new years eve I hear that my mum needed an operation urgently..I lost my mind I didn't know what to do I had no money and home was faraway I've asked couple of close friends but they couldn't help me, I then decided to steal from my work place from the safe, it wasn't planned and I know whatever happened in life we shouldn't take what's not ours, I took the money and drove my car for 2500 miles to the hospital abroad where my mum is, I helped until last week my mum came out the hospital safe and healthy again, now I've spent the money I've lost my career, I can either live on the run abroad or hand myself to the police and tell the truth, I want to fly back to England and pass the time and hand myself to the police please any advice how to do so and from where to start any help will do...I'm gonna book my flight and go to the first police station and tell them the story I'm not gonna give any reasons in why I did the crime because no matter what I think nobody will understand why I did what I did....I'm scared if I get put with real criminal people because I'm not really into that and I won't be able to protect myself nor I've been locked in before...I'm scared and I feel sick when I'm thinking about it but I want to be free in my mind again and do what's right and pass the time.
Zaki - 11-Feb-18 @ 7:23 PM
i have just been dismissed from work for theft of monies, which i owed up to, the police have been contacted reference ths, i have been on antidepressants for along time,due to having breakdown a few years back, i been a model employee for my entire period of employment, and is completely out of character, i have never been in trouble with the police, i have repaid the money , even though work said they couldn't accept as the bank had all ready refunded the money £45.00, i asked them to hold on to it until the outcome by the police had been decided , which they have done, will any of the above be taken into account when i/m dealt with by the police ?
marty - 28-Jan-18 @ 3:12 PM
Keeks - Your Question:
I was accused of theft at work and after a police interview they signed off as no further action however my job has not paid me or sent my p45

Our Response:
You would have to contact your employer directly to request your P45 and payment. If you are owed money and your employer refuses to pay, then you would have to apply to the small claims court.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 25-Jan-18 @ 2:15 PM
I was accused of theft at work and after a police interview they signed off as no further action however my job has not paid me or sent my p45
Keeks - 24-Jan-18 @ 6:49 PM
Miller - Your Question:
Hello. Basically I worked for this company for only 2 months. And one day the owners came up to me and falsely accused me of stealing and I got fired straight. I know for a fact they have different plan for the restaurant, they just needed me to pass xmas time as we all know it’s a great period to make money and looks like they are going to do only takeaway soon. So they won’t need me any longer. I got a contract which says 28 days notice had to be given, does not say anything about probation period. Also it’s explaying the procedures of dismissal, however they did not follow anything what’s written there. On top of this things they refused to pay my last week’s wage and some holiday that hasn’t been taken. I’ve spoken to several people, everyone says different things. Few said because I worked for them only two months they do whatever they want, I’m worried that they can go away with this without any problem. Spoken to police, but they can’t do much as crime hasn’t been reported by them. They caused so much trouble in my life, I’m suffering of depression and having massive financial issues as I lost my job from one day to another. As an innocent person it feels very bad, and I would like to make them pay somehow. But I need someone who can say if there is a hope or not? Someone who can say If there is a point to take them Court, and paying large amount to a lawyer putting myself in debt and the outcome might be no positive. Please could you take a look and advice me, just few words about my possibilities, maybe some advice. Thank you so much for your kindness!

Our Response:
You have to work for your employer for two years before you can claim unfair dismissal, please see link here, which will explain this to you in more detail. Your only recourse would be to apply to the small claims court for your wages owed and any holiday pay you may have accrued (you would have to read the terms and conditions of your contract to see whether you are eligible for holiday pay after a short amount of time). Please see link here .
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 19-Jan-18 @ 2:44 PM
Hello. Basically I worked for this company for only 2 months. And one day the owners came up to me and falsely accused me of stealing and I got fired straight. I know for a fact they have different plan for the restaurant, they just needed me to pass xmas time as we all know it’s a great period to make money and looks like they are going to do only takeaway soon. So they won’t need me any longer. I got a contract which says 28 days notice had to be given, does not say anything about probation period. Also it’s explaying the procedures of dismissal, however they did not follow anything what’s written there. On top of this things they refused to pay my last week’s wage and some holiday that hasn’t been taken. I’ve spoken to several people, everyone says different things. Few said because I worked for them only two months they do whatever they want, I’m worried that they can go away with this without any problem. Spoken to police, but they can’t do much as crime hasn’t been reported by them. They caused so much trouble in my life, I’m suffering of depression and having massive financial issues as I lost my job from one day to another. As an innocent person it feels very bad, and I would like to make them pay somehow. But I need someone who can say if there is a hope or not? Someone who can say If there is a point to take them Court, and paying large amount to a lawyer putting myself in debt and the outcome might be no positive. Please could you take a look and advice me, just few words about my possibilities, maybe some advice. Thank you so much for your kindness!
Miller - 19-Jan-18 @ 12:34 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the WorkplaceSafetyAdvice website. Please read our Disclaimer.