Most managers and business owners are skeptical about the kind of people they want to hire. Hence, they’re big on checking their prospective employees’ backgrounds before hiring them. Once they hire them, the last thing they expect is theft from the workers because they’ve entrusted them to perform their duties, upholding integrity and honesty.
Generally, the criminal aspects of employee theft include embezzlement, getting paid for the time you’ve not worked, and stealing property and workplace merchandise. Stealing confidential data and information is also considered theft by the law.
When a theft occurs, this usually is considered one of the highest forms of misconduct. Therefore, the employer can press legal charges against the perpetrators once the investigators have found them guilty. They can either be charged with a felony or misdemeanor, making them susceptible to criminal fines, penalties, or jail sentences for participating in the unlawful act.
Check What Is Missing
The first thing to do before declaring that a theft has occurred is to check your inventory management system to track and confirm what’s not there. Once you’ve assessed and determined what’s been stolen, you can make a paper trail to explain how you arrived at that conclusion. Thus, you can give stock or bank records to showcase this evidence. Once you’ve done that, you can proceed to the next step.
Ascertain Probable Sources Of This Theft
There are specific actions from employees in the organization that can cause you to suspect them. For instance, people that like secluding themselves and working with minimal supervision can be prime suspects. The reason is that, on many occasions, no one knows what they’re up to apart from fulfilling their professional duties.
Also, the individuals who go to finish their work at home can be suspects. This is because they may carry some company items or resources to help them as they work and decide to keep them at home. These signs are potential indicators that can help you determine culprits.
After identifying potential suspects, you can hire external corporate investigators to help you. The reason why it’s not advisable to continue digging deeper on your own is to avoid having an impartial investigation. Moreover, you’ll be able to prevent potential conflicts of interest.
Stay Calm As The Investigation Takes Place
It’s easy to overreact and be all over the place, as the investigation is still in progress. However, it would be best to stay patient until the results from the professional investigators arrive. It’s also essential to take this time to come to terms with the fact that theft has occurred and try figuring out ways how to avoid future theft cases from happening. Try as much as you can to control your emotions and make a rational decision.
Remember, even during this time, employees still need your guidance and leadership as they continue working, regardless of the undergoing theft investigations; hence, you need to remain calm.
Get The Results And Address The Culprits
After patiently waiting and the investigation results are out, you’ll have clear-cut answers about the individuals who’ve stolen items from the company. In this case, you can apply the company policies and laws regarding theft.
One thing you can do is discipline, suspend, or terminate the employment contract. This is also a time to warn the remaining employees and advise them to shun indulging in such practices or else they’re susceptible to serious consequences as stated in your company policies.
Besides that, you also need to follow your state’s laws regarding workplace theft and possible punishment. In most states, depending on the severity of the case, the perpetrator may face hefty fines and jail time. Therefore, as an employer, it’s critical to know all your state laws regarding theft, to make a proper and informed decision.
Try Recovering What Has Been Lost
Once you’ve gone through all the above processes, the final step is recovering from the losses. The measures you take are dependent on the losses you’ve incurred. In this regard, you can either sue the culprits so that they pay for the losses or use your business insurance to get compensation for your losses.
On some occasions, you can choose to use both methods. The compensation you’ll get from insurance depends on the insurance policy you’ve taken and the premiums you pay. The investigator can help advise in case you need help deciding which direction to go.
Dealing with workplace theft may be challenging. However, as an employer, you must be knowledgeable of how to deal with such circumstances properly. Aside from this, ensure you constantly remind your employees of their duties. It would be best if you also reminded them of the policies and laws regarding misconduct and malpractice in the workplace. This will help reduce the chances of theft occurring in the firm.
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