Employee theft can vary from anything, like stealing cash from the cash register when no-one is looking to falsifying expense accounts. Even simple thefts like stealing office supplies on a regular basis can make a dent in business profits. However, catching the culprit and dealing with the situation appropriately isn’t always easy to do. Here’s how to do it properly.
Stick to Your Policies
Sadly, if you ignore your business policies when apprehending a thief, that thief has cause to bring the business down with him. To successfully bring a thief to justice you must do everything by the book. In fact, it’s often best to hire a private detective so you have the proof on paper from a professional from the very start. If you’ve hired a professional to look at all the information and come up with a professional opinion, you and your business are covered if the unlikely event of accusing the wrong person should happen. Follow each step in your company’s policy to the letter when confronting a suspected thief.
The word ‘theft’ has been thrown about many times before in business. Unfortunately, a few of those businesses have been sued for defamation of character, whether the individual was a thief or not. It’s often much safer for businesses to use the terms, ‘violation of company policy’ or ‘violation of cash handling duties’. Accusing a person of theft is a very serious action to take, so it’s often easier to start an investigation by claiming an employee has broken policy rules.
Call the Police
Of course, it’s important to have grounds to call the police before doing it, like video footage or staff members testimonies. However, once you have reason to believe someone has been stealing from your business, it’s always best to get the police involved. The police are an unbiased team who can get to the bottom of theft much quicker and easier than you can. Hand over all of your evidence to the police and suspend or terminate the thieves’ employment immediately.
Don’t Mess with Paychecks
Many employers have been tempted to make deductions from an employee’s pay to pay for any losses that the business may have suffered as a result of thievery. However, your business may be under restrictions when it comes to altering final paychecks. It’s best to get advice from a professional accountant as to what you can and cannot do. Many businesses find that they are forced to pay the full amount, no matter what the individual has cost them.
Having a security presence in a business not only means that employees are less likely to steal, but it also means you have back-up if a situation arises. For example, if you’ve asked an employee to leave the premises because they’ve been caught stealing, they may not want to go quietly. Having security members of staff means the individual can be escorted off the properly quickly and safely.
No business wants to have to deal with thieves, but the more prepared you are, the better.