Theft at the workplace is both illegal and immoral, but it is not uncommon. When an employee takes something that belongs to an employer or a co-worker without approval and uses it for personal benefits, they are deemed to have committed theft. Depending on the nature of the offense, theft can strain team relations, impact productivity and hurt the organization’s bottom line. It can also expose the organization to legal battles.
Theft in the workplace is a big deal. In fact, it is an act of gross misconduct. As such, it is important that you take immediate action if you suspect that an employee is engaging in theft.
Investigating theft in the workplace
You cannot take action against an employee on mere suspicion that they might have stolen something. If you do, you may leave the organization vulnerable to litigation. Rather, you need to investigate the claim and afford the employee in question due process.
As an employer, you’ll need to conduct a thorough investigation to establish whether the theft allegation in question is backed up with evidence. Part of your investigation might involve gathering crucial documents, taking witness statements and auditing stock and transaction records.
Steps to take if you establish that the employee has stolen from the business
As a form of serious misconduct, theft can inspire a variety of disciplinary actions. These actions should be proportionate to the severity of the theft and the resulting damages. For instance, carrying band aids from work may not warrant summary dismissal. However, it becomes a different story when an employee commits fraud or when they steal and sell your trade secrets to your competition. In this case, you may be able to summarily dismiss the employee in question. Additionally, you may take legal action against the employee in question.
Safeguarding your interests
Employee theft can be a nightmare scenario. Seeking legal guidance to learn more about Texas labor laws can help you safeguard your business interests when dealing with a potentially dishonest employee.