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.
Notify the Bonding Company or Insurance Company:
If the organization looks after a fiduciary bond or employee dishonesty insurance, then the business must notify the bonding company or insurance company immediately upon finding out about the loss.
Notify the Authorities:
The employer may want to file criminal charges up against the former employee. If the business files a criminal complaint, an investigation by the police and other government agents would occur. If the prosecutor decides to pursue true, the employer can seek restitution through a criminal proceeding and never have to file a civil action. Regardless of whether criminal action is maintained, the employer should consider filing a civil action up against the former employee to recoup the value of the stolen items.
Preventing Employee Theft
To proactively help your small business owner control employee theft, legal counsel will counsel small company owners as to what is permissible beneath the law. Several deterrent steps may be taken, such as the following:
The employer needs to have available regularly scheduled reviews, reporting processes, along with other varieties of constraints which enhance the likeliness of discovering any breaches of honesty. A small business owner is smart never to concentrate supervisory responsibilities in any one employee, but to produce a structure designed to assure a small business ethic of cooperative and appropriate teamwork.
In the fiscal realm, in particular, it is prudent for an employer to possess audits and also other financial oversight procedures set up. Both external and internal financial controls must be a routine part of the company’s management.
The small business proprietor may consider other, more creative methods for supervising the project area, like maintaining video surveillance of the employees inside the workplace. However, video surveillance cannot include sound, as surveillance using sound recording has been seen as to violate an individual’s to certainly privacy. Video surveillance must be tied to areas which are not inherently private anyway, like a dressing room or a bathroom.
Additionally, employers should have an employment policy allowing them free usage of all employee e-mails. The attorney will advise the small business owner about the way to protect its interests without infringing on the constitutional rights of the employees.