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Dealing with Employee Theft

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 15 Feb 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]
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
yoyo - Your Question:
Hi I am a retail manager and at the store the security took one of our keys ass/man and make copies so that he can steal the money from the safe,we always left the safe keys at the store because both of us stay very far and the reasons was what if one of is get sick or get an accident while she on her way to work.My contract doesn't state anything with regards to the safe keys were should we put them also the store policy,i have been suspended for negligence.please advice.

Our Response:
Unfortunately, I am unable to advise as much will depend upon the results of the investigation. I can only point you to your rights under the circumstances, please see link here .
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 18-Jan-18 @ 10:51 AM
hi i am a retail manager and at the store the security took one of our keys ass/man and make copies so that he can steal the money from the safe,we always left the safe keys at the store because both of us stay very far and the reasons was what if one of is get sick or get an accident while she on her way to work.My contract doesn't state anything with regards to the safe keys were should we put them also the store policy,i have been suspended for negligence...please advice .
yoyo - 17-Jan-18 @ 5:06 PM
Hi there I'm looking for a bit of advice. I work for a retail company. And unfortunately there has been a few things going missing from the branch I work in.... There is no cctv to suspect any of the staff members. But there is definitely a thief in our shop. Our area manager called a meeting with all the staff together and said you have a week to look for the missing items then it will result in possibly loosing our jobs. Not what you want to hear before xmas... Can they dismis us even if they don't know for sure who has been taking things from the shop? Or can they even give us a written warning as i wouldn't want to accept one of those either Knowing I have had nothing to do with this matter and not been negligent.. Any advice would be great thanks.
Suzie - 22-Dec-17 @ 9:30 PM
I been discriminated by stealing i had appeal with High Manager and he just asked me some questions and they sent me letter after one week that they have got witness seeing me stealing and that I wanted to sell it and all lies been said I sent grievance form after one week they sent me a letter telling me that I can’t do anything and they will not help me
Dodzi - 7-Dec-17 @ 11:06 PM
I have been accused of grand larceny and embezzlement from family dollar. I let the two other employees know the same night all of this mess began ( there are only 3 of us) I found a better paying job more suited to my skills. I left my debit card under my register on my phone where I always do so that I could do a money load later that night where you give the cashier cash and they put it on a debit card. Long story short there's 2500 on my card andI believe I was set up to be punished for leaving them to have to work 7 days a week again. They used my terminal at work but they used a supervisors login as only managers can do money loads which I am not. I saw the assistant manager at my terminal when coming back from putting up inventory between rushes but thought nothing of it because they sometimes check out drawer to see if we need change. I've been arrested and am out on bond but am going to arraignment today. We do not have CCTV or cameras to help prove my Innocence! What can I do? Its a small town and my life has been ruined.
derek92z - 27-Nov-17 @ 6:52 PM
Hi I run a small cleaning company and one of my ladies has been caught stealing money from money jars.my client noticed old pound coins going missing as she was collecting them to cash in at the bank.i was on holiday at the time and the lady planted the money at 9am and my lady cleans until 11.30am and the money was gone. Where do I stand with paying my cleaning staff she is self employed on a very good wage,i haveconfronted her and she said it was just that one time she took money so she has admitted taking old pound coins. Ian due to pay her Friday how do I compensate my client,Do I take it out of her wage? I'm really stuck on what action to take! Thank you s x
Keeley2 - 4-Nov-17 @ 11:22 PM
If CCTV footage was to be used as evidence of theft would the footage have to clearly show the item in question or is it enough to just be in the right place at the wrong time
Gd - 1-Nov-17 @ 8:19 PM
JB - Your Question:
Good afternoon,I'm looking for some advice as I've been forced to resign from work with accusations of theft so I'm just wondering where I stand. I've typed out everything that happened at work so I'm just going to copy and paste it below, my main issue is my tools are being held to ransom by my employer so just wondering if they can do that legally and whether I should pay the money demanded. I hope you can help and hope to hear from you soon. I've been forced to resign from my job. I work in the motor industry as a vehicle technician fixing cars, over time I collect spare parts, things that should have been thrown away etc which every technician does. I was having a bit of a clear out and decided to sell a few SD cards from old faulty satellite navigation units on ebay which I've had some time and also a spare intake pipe (just a plastic pipe). These parts have no value to the company and should have been thrown away but there was nothing wrong with them so decided to keep them.A few weeks later I get pulled into the office with the area manager who asks do I have any parts for sale on ebay? I said yes I have a few old sd cards for sale. He then says there has been an investigation carried out and I've been selling brand new SD cards which retail at £200 each on ebay for £25, I have 2 options: he phones the police who come and arrests me and raid my house. Or I resign immediately and pay him £3000, £2000 for the retail cost of the parts and £1000 for the cost of the investigation, he will then give me a reference for a new job and keep his mouth shut about the whole thing (in other words he wont slander my name in the motor trade which is a small place, everyone knows everyone!). I then explain about the parts and they were not new sd cards, we dont even keep them in stock, he thought I was just helping myself to brand new parts. I explained the value of the parts to the company is zero. He then said ok, well I just want £1000 for the cost of the investigation and you dont get your toolbox back until I get it (that's worth about £5000).So a bit shaken I sign my resignation and resign immediately.So all in all I've worked for the company for over 3 years, had no verbal or written warnings for anything and never had a sick day and feel a bit hard done to, I didn't even realise I was doing anything wrong.So my question is, I accept I've lost my job because of this and I don't want to go back, but can he demand this £1000 from me and to not mention it to other employers? And hold my tools ransom? It feels a bit like blackmail to me if I'm honest.I'd be interested to hear your opinions on this, thanks for reading.

Our Response:
You would first of all have to read the terms and conditions of your contract to see whether selling on parts is not permitted (which I expect it would not be). Therefore, your employer has a right to dismiss you. However, your employer should not be attempting to extract money from you to pay for your investigation on the condition he will offer you a reference, which is blackmail. Also, he has no right to keep your personal belongings i.e tools. In this case, I can only suggest you give ACAS a call for further advice on how to approach this.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 31-Oct-17 @ 10:58 AM
Good afternoon,I'm looking for some advice as I've been forced to resign from work with accusations of theft so I'm just wondering where I stand. I've typed out everything that happened at work so I'm just going to copy and paste it below, my main issue is my tools are being held to ransom by my employer so just wondering if they can do that legally and whether I should pay the money demanded. I hope you can help and hope to hear from you soonKind regards. I've been forced to resign from my job. I work in the motor industry as a vehicle technician fixing cars, over time I collect spare parts, things that should have been thrown away etc which every technician does. I was having a bit of a clear out and decided to sell a few SD cards from old faulty satellite navigation units on ebay which I've had some time and also a spare intake pipe (just a plastic pipe). These parts have no value to the company and should have been thrown away but there was nothing wrong with them so decided to keep them.A few weeks later I get pulled into the office with the area manager who asks do I have any parts for sale on ebay? I said yes I have a few old sd cards for sale. He then says there has been an investigation carried out and I've been selling brand new SD cards which retail at £200 each on ebay for £25, I have 2 options: he phones the police who come and arrests me and raid my house. Or I resign immediately and pay him £3000, £2000 for the retail cost of the parts and £1000 for the cost of the investigation, he will then give me a reference for a new job and keep his mouth shut about the whole thing (in other words he wont slander my name in the motor trade which is a small place, everyone knows everyone!). I then explain about the parts and they were not new sd cards, we dont even keep them in stock, he thought I was just helping myself to brand new parts. I explained the value of the parts to the company is zero. He then said ok, well I just want £1000 for the cost of the investigation and you dont get your toolbox back until I get it (that's worth about £5000).So a bit shaken I sign my resignation and resign immediately.So all in all I've worked for the company for over 3 years, had no verbal or written warnings for anything and never had a sick day and feel a bit hard done to, I didn't even realise I was doing anything wrong.So my question is, I accept I've lost my job because of this and I don't want to go back, but can he demand this £1000 from me and to not mention it to other employers? And hold my tools ransom? It feels a bit like blackmail to me if I'm honest.I'd be interested to hear your opinions on this, thanks for reading.
JB - 30-Oct-17 @ 2:55 PM
Someone at my work has misplaced a large amount of money. My company have asked me to conduct an interview before they come in for disaplinary but i'm unsure what questions to ask and HR are no help. Please can you help advise?
KRP - 18-Oct-17 @ 4:48 PM
@H.Sd - some people have a compulsion for stealing. You can get the police in again and either dismiss the employee for gross misconduct. You might want to press charges this time.
JoH - 10-Oct-17 @ 3:44 PM
Hello everyone, I am an employer really devastated by the most trusted staff been stealing cash! We pay all our staff NLW and with all HP, Sick Pay... so there is no chance that any one can accuse us of not paying enough. This particular staff was found stealing cash (average £50/£60 a day) few months back and we informed police about this and Police said it is enough evidence to get the staff behind bars. But ofcourse they left the final decision onto us, and we decided to give staff a chance , coz every one deserves a fair chance. So on the condition that the staff will give us in writing an apology and confidence that it will not happen again ever for any reason. And the staff is working just as normal, their hours not affected either.!!! But we have found that the same person is still stealing cash but in a different pattern. And we have enough clear CCTV footage evidence of the theft. Now we dont know what to do !!! And how to handle this situation Any advise please? Your advise will be highly appreciated. Thanks
H.Sd - 10-Oct-17 @ 10:36 AM
Hey there. I currently work in a whiskey factory that is supposed to be run by customs.the other day my jacket went missing from the cloke hanger. I have reported the problem but have been told it's basically my fault. Problem I have is it's a well knowing fact that the factory should have but does not have cctv inside the building due to financial reasons.I. E just cutting costs..I would like to know we're I stand with this and if the company should be held accountable. It's not the first time and by looks of things it certainly won't b the last.. And the thief's know this because there are zero cameras operating.
Beithybhoy - 7-Oct-17 @ 9:52 AM
SWT123 - Your Question:
I was recently accused and found guilty for; intoxication on shift, misappropriating company product and property and misappropriating cash from till draws. I have attended 3 meetings so far. 1: to discuss the possibility of suspension. 2: to confirm suspension and the third meeting I have still to attend. A meeting which provided a summary of the investigation which is still ongoing. There has been CCTV footage provided and the meeting has been rearranged so they can continue the investigation even though it has been a number of days, almost a week. What is the chance there will be bigger consequences than just dismissal? I am suspended currently but haven't been officially dismissed as they are still investigating. Please advise if I need to seek a lawyer as I am very worried that it is going to get serious.

Our Response:
If you are concerned, you may wish to give ACAS a call to speak with someone directly, please see link here .
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 19-Sep-17 @ 10:27 AM
I was recently accused and found guilty for; intoxication on shift, misappropriating company product and property and misappropriating cash from till draws. I have attended 3 meetings so far. 1: to discuss the possibility of suspension. 2: to confirm suspension and the third meeting I have still to attend. A meeting which provided a summary of the investigation which is still ongoing. There has been CCTV footage provided and the meeting has been rearranged so they can continue the investigation even though it has been a number of days, almost a week. What is the chance there will be bigger consequences than just dismissal? I am suspended currently but haven't been officially dismissed as they are still investigating. Please advise if I need to seek a lawyer as I am very worried that it is going to get serious.
SWT123 - 18-Sep-17 @ 5:45 AM
Sandro - Your Question:
Hi, I'm working as a self employer put for amazon delivery driver , I'm working for them nearly year already without any problem, not a easy job, they not treat us fairly but today I had a shock notice they accuse me of steal some parcel on my route when I did all the proceeds at work when we load our vans( like always) I show them with pictures inclusive before left the depo I didn't have that parcel, so now I been disactiveted , that means I can work until they decide, so basically I'm paying for some crime I didn't , they not allowed me to work and pay me nothing to stay off, I dunno what to do but I feel I need do something cuz that's really unfair. What I should do???

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here which will tell you your rights in this situation.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 21-Aug-17 @ 1:56 PM
Hi, I'm working as a self employer put for amazon delivery driver , I'm working for them nearly year already without any problem, not a easy job, they not treat us fairly but today I had a shock notice they accuse me of steal some parcel on my route when I did all the proceeds at work when we load our vans( like always) I show themwith pictures inclusive before left the depo I didn't have that parcel, so now I been disactiveted , that means I can work until they decide, so basically I'm paying for some crime I didn't , they not allowed me to work and pay me nothing to stay off, I dunno what to do but I feel I need do something cuz that's really unfair. What I should do???
Sandro - 20-Aug-17 @ 12:12 PM
Hi I'm a waitress and over 3 weeks ago on a busy Friday night a card transaction wasn't made for one of my tables but I cashed it off by mistake probably because I was flustered. Now I have been asked to attend a disciplinary because one of my pdqs didn't match on my money belt. Am I being accused of theft? I have never stolen in my life but I've obviously made a big mistake somewhere along the line. I'm scared I'm going to lose my job and I have a family to provide for :-(
H - 14-Aug-17 @ 8:41 PM
Paul - Your Question:
Hi I was just wondering where I stand I have svq3 in healt and social care I took on a job with care of the community 8 months into Job one of my clients said I took 50 then a futher 60 I was suspended for 3 days then got a phone call from the director saying paul I can't make heads of tails of this situation they had no prove also he said I will give you 2 weeks wages and you will have to leave the company my god I've lost my job for nothing can he do this thanks paul keegan

Our Response:
Dismissal is when your employer ends your employment - they don’t always have to give you notice. If you’re dismissed, your employer must show they’ve a valid reason that they can justify and acted reasonably in the circumstances. They must also: be consistent - eg not dismiss you for doing something that they let other employees do and have investigated the situation fully before dismissing you - eg if a complaint was made about you. Also, if you have worked for your employer for less than two years, it is more difficult to claim unfair dismissal, please see link here .
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 11-Aug-17 @ 12:40 PM
Hi I was just wondering where I stand I have svq3 in healt and social care I took on a job with care of the community 8 months into Job one of my clients said I took 50 then a futher 60 I was suspended for 3 days then got a phone call from the director saying paul I can't make heads of tails of this situation they had no prove also he said I will give you 2 weeks wages and you will have to leave the company my god I've lost my job for nothing can he do this thanks paul
Paul - 11-Aug-17 @ 6:21 AM
Hi my daughter works in a care home and in the staff room lockers have no keys ...yesterday her purse was stolen with money in and all her cards ... the manager has done nothing .... they called police and all they did was give her a crime number....no one was searched....she's gone in work today and nothing as been said it's like they've just brushed it under the carpet and not bothered that there's a thief in the workplace ...it was a lot of money£ 140.00 ....what rights has she got....thankyou deb
Deb - 6-Aug-17 @ 10:01 AM
Hi I have recently heard that a former employee of ours who was caught stealing cash from our tills is now working for another brand. This employee was caught on camera and charged for the offence of "theft employee". Am I able to speak to my contact in the other brand and make them aware of the fact that they have employed this person?
RodW - 25-Jul-17 @ 12:43 PM
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