Florida Technical College
February 19, 2013
This term paper will discuss the problems involved in employ theft in the work place and ways to help avoid this.
There are several types of theft in the workplace. Restaurant employees who eat food while on the job are stealing if food is off limits or they are told to pay for it before eating. Someone who puts a box of staples in his briefcase is just as guilty as someone who steals a laptop computer. Placing an order for office supplies and having a box of computer paper shipped home is theft, too. The definition of stealing is to take possession of property without permission. Theft should always be grounds for immediate employment termination, but suspend the employee first if you still need to gather facts. Avoiding a wrongful termination should always be a priority, along with protecting company property.
A company can conduct an inspection of lockers, purses, briefcases, and backpacks if company property is missing. However, you must have a written policy in place first. The policy should be included in the employee handbook and there should be proof in the personnel files that everyone has received a copy. If personal property such as purses, briefcases, and backpacks are checked, this is generally done when employees exit the building. All inspections should be conducted by two managers, working side by side.
Don't be surprised if you start a search and the missing item suddenly shows up stashed in an odd place. The employee may have realized that he would not be able to leave the building with the item and didn't want to be found with it. If you have your suspicions about who may have done it, there isn't much that you can do without evidence or a witness. Taking an item with the intent to steal is a valid reason to terminate employment.
If you notice that something is missing and you see an employee leaving the building with a bag or something hidden inside their coat, for example, you have the right to stop them and ask what they are carrying. If they refuse, you should not force the item out of their hands. You may receive an anonymous tip from someone who knows about a theft but is afraid to come forward. This may be in the form of a letter, e-mail, or voicemail message from an unknown voice. Keep the tip and investigate accordingly. Employees have been caught with stolen property at home due to anonymous tips from other employees. Whether or not stolen property is recovered, you should always file a police report. It will set the precedent that theft will be dealt with aggressively. If employees are questioned, it may deter the thief from doing it again and may result in finding out who did it.
Sometimes it may be hard to catch everyone and every item that is stolen from your business but there are ways to help prevent it and they include; Lock up all checks and deposit slips. Storing trust account checks and deposit slips separately from your operating account should make it more difficult for employees to steal and lessen the chance of someone mistakenly writing a check on or making a deposit to the wrong account. Require supporting documentation when signing checks or authorizing transactions. Question check requests for any vendor whose name you don’t recognize. Follow check-writing procedures. Scrutinize everything, including requests for “rush” signatures to meet accounting or court deadlines. Never sign a blank check. Limit the amount of petty cash on hand. Establish procedures for reimbursement, require original detailed receipts, and use standardized forms. If you need to move funds from one account to another, write a check payable to the specific account you’re transferring funds to, not to your bank. Checks made payable to your bank can be deposited into a thief’s personal account. When the bank statement arrives, examine transactions for any irregularities. Verify that…