Business theft a growing concern
Corporate and Business theft of property and money by employees is a growing concern and often most employers either don’t have the infrastructure or expertise to handle the matter.
It is necessary to consider the individual circumstances of each case, which may include:
The gravity of the theft, the frequency of theft;
Its potential impact on the employer’s business;
The nature of the job itself;
The extent of proof available;
The employee’s past record, how instances of theft have been handled in the past and whether the police or other authorities become involved.
For example, an office employee who steals a few items of stationery might only justify receiving a warning in the first instance, but where an accountant who has control of large amounts of company funds defrauds the employer, summary dismissal would usually be justified along with potential police involvement.
Hiring a licensed private investigator can offer a solution to both handling the investigation but also training leaders to prevent future cases occurring.
A licensed investigator would ensure the following areas are covered:
- There needs to be a sound investigation procedure that does not place the business at risk, e.g. have a defamation or unfair dismissal claim.
- Act only on the basis of firm evidence. This may include statements by witnesses, cash register and other financial records, video surveillance tapes, etc.
- Obtain proof that theft has occurred. The normal standards of proof applicable to court cases apply. You cannot expect a tribunal or court to make inferences from an employee’s conduct that theft occurred.
- Ensure you don’t ‘set employees up’ with contrived tests that seek to catch employees in the act of stealing, such as ‘dummy’ customers.
In such cases, employees may behave in the way you are expecting them to, but tribunals often dismiss such ‘evidence’ as ‘amateur sleuthing’ if it is not backed up with other evidence.
In general, the employee must be aware that the type of theft is prohibited and will lead to consequences if it occurs. This can be communicated via the initial employment letter or contract, company policies, past warnings and notification that surveillance of employees will occur.
- Ensure that you don’t just suspect a theft without investigating the matter. If you take action and the employee’s explanation later is plausible, or cannot be proven to be false or implausible, the employee may have grounds for action against the business.
Therefore hiring a private investigator will not only ensures the staff fraud is identified and resolved it will also protect the business from any potential defamation.
You can hire a private detective in Perth to help you conduct the staff investigation. All you need to do is contact In Depth Investigations and schedule an appointment with us!