As a business owner, I have to say that statistics on employee theft are frightening. According to Statistic Brain, $50 billion are stolen from U.S. businesses every year by their own staff, and roughly 75% of employees have admitted to stealing from their employer at least once. In the past, it has been something that I have dealt with as a business owner, but seeing the increase in employee theft has given me food for thought on how to handle the situation.
Talk to Your Attorney
As a recent Wall Street Journal article points out, when there’s suspected theft, employers must tread carefully, as a wrong move can open you up to serious legal ramifications. For example, the employee could turn around and sue you for defamation of character or unlawful termination. Before you approach the employee, I recommend seeking the legal advice of an attorney that specializes in employment issues. They can provide you with the best advice on how to discuss the theft and protect yourself from a potential lawsuit.
Take Legal Action if Needed
Regardless of the reason an employee may have committed theft, their employment should be immediately terminated. Contact the police, your lawyer, and the company’s insurance firm if needed. You must have proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that they did steal from the company. I once had an employee who, when asked to see what was in their bag, wouldn’t show it. Our warehouse camera had footage of him stealing.
Peter Daisyme is a special adviser to Due, a payments invoicing company helping small business owners transact money online. He’s been a CPA for the past 18 years. He recently sold his previous company Hostt.
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