What to Do When Workers May Be Stealing From Your Company

Although many people are still struggling to find full-time jobs with reasonable wages, no one ever has the right to steal from an employer. According to one recent university study, “64 percent of small businesses have lost items to employee theft.” Similar numbers exist for much larger companies. While short-circuit TV monitoring systems can help employers detect theft, it’s equally important to analyze what factors are motivating the theft  – while also taking appropriate actions to reduce the incidences as best you can.                                                   

The following information can help you try and proactively address employee theft, as well as provide creative ideas for addressing it once it’s discovered. Although some employers may be tempted to not fire an employee who’s caught stealing something minor – you must be very careful about what message you’re sending to all of your other employees if you choose this response.                                                                   

Preventing Theft in Your Workplace

  • Conduct an adequate criminal background check on every potential new employee. Regardless of the tasks the person may be handling, you need to obtain a criminal background check on every applicant. Also, always try to speak with each of their most recent employers to see if you can possibly detect if the person left on good terms. (You should also give serious thought to running annual criminal background checks on all hired employees.) If you decide to do this, be sure to speak with your Peachtree City business attorney about the safest, legal way to pursue this goal);

  • Carefully review the wages you are paying employees at all levels. Often, employees who steal feel justified in doing so because they believe they are being paid far below a living wage. While this belief never justifies stealing, it’s very important to treat your employees with respect and offer them appropriate salaries;

  • Put adequate security measures to work and make sure your workers know what types of surveillance you regularly conduct – including reviews of their computer usage;

  • Have independent audits run on your company’s books at least once a year, possibly twice. Far too many people who embezzle do so for a number of years before they’re ever caught. Make sure all inventory numbers make sense and are accurate. Also, let various managers know that all orders, deliveries, and refunds are closely monitored on a regular basis by the accounting department;

  • Set up a confidential means for employees to report suspected theft. Be sure all of your employees are aware of how they can report suspected theft, without being penalized for doing so;

  • Watch for obvious or strong signs that an employee might be stealing from you. If a minimum-wage worker (or even a high-level corporate officer) suddenly starts buying goods that are well beyond his/her obvious means, see if you can’t legally determine if this person has come into some type of legitimate, sudden wealth. Of course, if no funds are missing, you might as well chalk it up to an inheritance or sheer luck. Just be sure you keep adequate security cameras in place that can help you catch most illegal activities as they are committed on your premises.

To obtain help with handling all of your Georgia business planning needs, please contact Shane Smith Law today.  You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (980) 246-2656