An Inside Job: What To Do If An Employee Is Stealing From You
Theft at work. It’s something we hope never happens but if it does, you need to be ready to respond effectively. Dealing with a thief promptly and making sure that you conduct a thorough, fair and procedural process can be a difficult juggling exercise. CCER has prepared a quick checklist to ensure you don’t break the law when dealing with someone you think has.
Make Preliminary Enquiries
Before any formal actions or investigations, it is important to make preliminary enquiries and to understand the situation. Is that work vehicle really gone or is an employee just running an errand for the organisation? Is money really missing from petty cash or did someone just get reimbursed for spending their own money on something work-related?
Take Necessary Precautions and Investigate
If you’re satisfied that something is awry, you might need to conduct an investigation into the extent of the theft and who was involved. Sometimes you will need to suspend an employee while you investigate because of the seriousness of the matters that are alleged. If you are considering suspending an employee, contact CCER. We can help you write the letter of suspension and advise you on whether the suspension should be paid or unpaid.
If you are investigating, it is also a good idea to take steps to ensure that an employee cannot hide or destroy material relevant to the investigation. This could include disabling access to key systems (e.g. payroll or email) that may put the integrity of the investigation at risk. For example, if you think a Finance Officer is misappropriating funds, you would not want them to have access to bank accounts and records while you investigate. In some cases it may be appropriate to disable an employee’s swipe card access so they cannot come to your premises at all. Whatever precautions you organisation decide to take, it is a good idea to notify the employee after you have made these changes (so that they are made aware of them).
Provide Opportunities To Respond (For All Involved)
Once you have finished investigating and formed a view about what has happened, it is important to explain to the employee what the allegations are so that they have an opportunity to respond before you make a decision about whether there has indeed been a theft and about any disciplinary outcomes. This will ensure that you have a better understanding of the situation as a whole.
Getting a clear picture of what’s actually taken place can be difficult, which makes deciding what to do about it equally tricky. We recommend you contact CCER and speak to one of our Employment Relations Specialists as soon as you suspect someone on your staff may be stealing from you. We can help you set things straight in a way that best protects your organisation.
You can contact CCER on firstname.lastname@example.org or 9390 5255.