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Navigating the Delicate Situation: Handling Suspected Theft in the Workplace

By Darragh Timlin on April 23rd, 2024

Theft in the workplace can put companies in a difficult situation. While employee theft allegations require a thorough investigation, employers must tread carefully to avoid missteps when handling suspected offenders still presumed innocent. 

We examine best practices for appropriately dealing with workplace theft accusations.

Addressing Theft Allegations: Next Steps

If an employee theft instance seems apparent, like money visibly missing without documentation, assessing next actions still demands care and discretion. While data suggests 6,000 workers are caught stealing from their employer, proper procedures proving guilt still apply.

When theft in the workplace occurs, refrain from hasty reactions before assessing options. Have an employee theft policy that outlines approaches like:

  • Discreetly checking workplace CCTV records around suspected theft timing –  If footage reveals misconduct, compile copies for evidence.
  • Audit stock and financial records after unusual transactions – If unexplained inventory or cash discrepancies point towards theft, document findings.
  • Talk to appropriate management before confronting the suspected employee directly to avoid acting rashly. Plan an appropriate meeting strategy.

Disciplinary Measures and Legal Compliance

When disciplining employees for serious theft offences, it’s crucial to follow proper procedures to ensure compliance with employment laws and protect your company from unfair dismissal claims.

Here are some best practices to follow:

  1. If you have strong evidence of theft, give the employee a final written warning. This warning should inform them that they are likely to be dismissed after a disciplinary hearing. Allow the employee to bring a coworker or union representative to the hearing for support if they wish.
  2. During the disciplinary hearing, give the employee a chance to present their side of the story and respond to the evidence against them. If they continue to deny the theft allegations, inform them of their dismissal for gross misconduct, explaining the reasons based on the findings of your investigation. In most cases, you can terminate their employment immediately.
  3. Provide a formal dismissal notice in writing, outlining the grounds for termination and information about their final payments. Avoid discussing the specific reasons for dismissal with other employees, simply stating that the individual violated company policies.

By documenting the disciplinary process and adhering to appropriate procedures throughout the investigation, you can protect your company against unfair dismissal claims. It’s always a good idea to consult with legal experts to ensure your disciplinary protocols align with the specific circumstances of the case.

Deterring Workplace Theft: Prevention Tactics

Beyond handling individual theft cases through careful response, deterrent initiatives minimise incidents, including:

  • Performing random desk and locker checks after fair warning, allowing disciplinary actions for anything that signals theft.
  • Mandating scans or security checks for bags when exiting company premises after shifts.
  • Arranging additional workplace CCTV surveillance for inventory storage areas, tills or cash handling locations.

Protection from Employee Stealing

Handling suspected employee theft is a delicate situation that requires a careful, measured approach. By following best practices for investigating allegations, documenting evidence, and adhering to fair disciplinary procedures, companies can navigate these challenging circumstances while minimising the risk of legal repercussions.

At Brisco Business Insurance, we understand the complex challenges that companies face when dealing with workplace theft. With our employee theft insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that your company is protected against the unexpected.

Get in Touch with Brisco Business

Don’t wait until it’s too late to protect your business from the devastating impacts of employee theft. Contact Brisco Business today to learn more about our specialised coverage options and to get a quote for your company.

Darragh Timlin

With over 25 years’ experience, Darragh is an expert in all things insurance. Starting his career in commercial property underwriting, Darragh has worked for a number of global insurers and is now Managing Director of Brisco Business, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Darragh Timlin

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