One of the worst things for an employer is when you suspect an employee of stealing from the business, and it is a situation you will need to handle carefully. It is not something you want to deal with aggressively, or you can make the situation much worse and potentially infringe your employee’s rights, making things much more complicated. You will need to handle the situation with kid gloves and seek advice at your earliest possible convenience.
Until you can address the situation head-on, you will want to avoid making your employee suspicious that you are onto them. Below are some tips to help you deal with the situation and ensure you do everything above board and legally.
Seek Legal Advice Immediately
If you have never been in a similar situation, you should first seek professional legal advice. If you have access, you can call an employment law helpline for UK employers or one in your country and find out the best course of action to deal with the situation. If you have an in-house HR team, you must inform them immediately and start containing the problem as quickly as possible.
You will want to seek advice as soon as possible when you do not have a dedicated HR team and are not a specialist in employment law. There are plenty of specialist companies you can talk to about the situation to help you deal with it efficiently and effectively.
Gather Your Evidence
You will need to have substantial evidence to prove your case against the employee, and you will need to start gathering this as soon as you are aware of the problem. When you have taken legal advice and have a strong case with damning evidence, you will probably want to terminate the employment of the person caught stealing, but ensure you do this legally and as per their contract of employment. Once you have all the evidence, you will also need to decide whether you will prosecute them or not, which will depend on the situation and the value of the theft.
To Prosecute Or Not To Prosecute?
If you have insurance that covers employee theft, you will need to get a police report to claim with your insurers. If it is a high-value theft, you may find that the decision to prosecute or not is taken out of your hands, as the CPS may decide they want to lay charges against your former employee, although they often take the employers wishes into account as well. You will need to ensure that you do not discuss the situation with other employees before the culprit has been terminated.
You will not be allowed to make any deductions from the employees pay to cover the value of the stolen goods, so do not try and deduct anything from their final salary. If you do try and do this, you are opening your company up to a lawsuit, which is the last thing you want to happen and can cause you a lot of sleepless nights and headaches, even though you are in the right. It can be challenging to deal with, so get expert legal advice and nip the problem in the bud quickly before it does any more damage to your employee morale.