Responding to Employee Theft
To best protect its interests, a company that suspects that particular of their employees is stealing should immediately consult the company’s attorney for advice. Typically, the attorney will advise the employer to consider steps including the following:
Commence the Investigation Promptly:
A small business proprietor should initiate the investigation of the purported theft by staff immediately. This prevents the employer from running afoul of criminal and civil statutes of limitation.
Place a Third-party Employee in Charge of the Investigation:
A management employee besides the supervisor who first observed or reported the theft should perform the investigation. This avoids the taint of bias a more involved player will bring on the investigation. Also, the employer should interview the accused in the presence of the witness.
Maintain Strict Confidentiality:
Maintaining strict confidentiality through the entire investigation is essential. Failure to do something discretely in handling a staff theft can subject the business to defamation claims through the accused employee.
Document the Investigation:
It is also crucial that you document all interviews when investigating the claimed theft. The employer should gather evidence that sufficiently assures the theft from the company occurred and was committed through the employee. This evidence is going to be beneficial in several areas: in furthering a criminal or civil prosecution in the accused, in collecting from an insurance company if the business is insured against employee theft, as well as in defending against a potential wrongful discharge action up against the employer.