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What To Do If You Suspect Staff Are Stealing From Your Business

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You may not think that your business ever has or ever will fall foul to theft from an employee, but sadly it is common occurrence. Often the most trusted employee is the one who ends up stealing from your business. But if you do suspect someone is stealing from your business in one form or another, what action should you take?

It’s Not Always Simple

Employee theft is not always a matter of an employee stealing money or stock from your business, there are different ways in which an employee could be stealing from you. Whether it’s a cashier putting their hand in the till, an employee stealing tools or an office worker changing numbers on a spread sheet, your business could be at risk.

The most common type of employee theft within a business is “skimming” takings. This usually means that the employee is withholding money from customers that was intended for your business. There are, however, a number of different, less common types of fraud that employees could be using to steal from your business:

  • Fiddling expenses
  • Creating fake payroll records
  • Creating non-existent customers or suppliers to defraud the business
  • Employees selling services and goods fraudulently
  • Employee’s providing inferior or non-existent goods to customers in order to gain personally

Read the Warning Signs

Whilst it does not create a happy work environment if you are constantly suspicious of your employees, it is wise to keep an eye out for warning signs. All too often cases of employee theft happen when you hand over complete trust in a particular area of your business. When you stop knowing what goes on in various aspect of your business there is always a risk that the person you have handed those obligations over to could be abusing them. Common signs to look out for include:

  • Frequent changes in cash balances
  • Shortages of inventory
  • Any unusual behaviour from employees, particularly financial things such as new expensive purchases
  • Other employee’s complaining about missing items

Take Action

If you spot these signs then you may feel it necessary to take action. This is the time for employers to decide whether the investigation should be conducted internally or externally. There are of course pros and cons to each, internal investigations will be cheaper but external analysis are more likely to be conducted in a fair manner without bias. Although every investigation is likely to be different due to different requirements of companies in different industries, there are some basic rules to follow if you suspect that an employee is stealing from your business.

1. Analyse the evidence

Never jump to conclusions and accuse the employee of stealing without reviewing the evidence (either internally or externally). If you take rash action such as this you are at great risk of an employee bringing a case against you for wrongful termination.

2. Seek legal advice

Do not accuse, threaten or fire the employee before you have reviewed all of the evidence and mostly importantly consulted with a legal professional.

3. Final pay

It may be very tempting to deduct from the employee’s final pay check if you are terminating them on the basis of the employee stealing from your organisation. This will only put your business at risk of a court action from the employee. It is usually advisable to not deduct losses from the employee’s final check and to recover losses in a small claims court.

Protect Your Business

It is a delicate and frustrating situation when you’re concerned that your employee’s may be stealing from your business. Don’t risk making the wrong move and costing your business, contact an employment law expert today and get free impartial advice on how to protect your business form theft. Call now on 0161 115 6164.

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