Employee theft

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by Jp35, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Jp35

    Jp35
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    Hello

    This is my first post on this forum. I am looking for advice on a difficult situation. I am the owner of a shop and have recently discovered that my manager and to be honest my best and most trusted employee has been repeatedly stealing from the till over the past 4 months. He has been going to great lengths to cover his tracks but he is unaware that I have technology in place that has now exposed his stealing.

    I can only go back four months but it started small and has accelerated to now taking as much on a weekly basis as on monthly to start with. I am extremely disappointed in this person. He is eastern european and started off at the bottom in my shop and through hard work and showing a care and keen interest in the business worked his way up to manager. I have invested a lot of my personal and business time training and upskilling this person and his wages were also upgraded significantly throughout his development.

    I am now left with the prospect of confronting him and us parting company. Any advice would be appreciated. We as a company have very good hr policy and exiting him in a professional and legal manner is not my concern. I am just interested in learning more on this problem as it is the first time I have encountered it.

    Looking forward to some feedback as this is undoubtedly a significant problem for small cash businesses.
     
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  2. Fergal

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    Welcome to Business Advice Forum Jp35, thanks for joining.

    I have a lot of sympathy for the unfortunate situation you find yourself in. It is very hurtful and upsetting when we find out that someone we trusted and relied on has betrayed that trust.

    It's very helpful that you have good HR policies in place, but I'd suggest that you still take legal advice on the matter. A legal professional should be able to propose some approaches that might help you to get all (or at least some) of your money back from this employee.

    This is something else I'd discuss with a legal professional. I don't know what country you are in, but in some countries you are required by law, to inform your employees that you are going to use technology like that, before you install it. Personally, it's not a law that I might agree with, but if you haven't done so already, you should probably check the legal ramifications for your own particular circumstances.

    If someone did to me, what this employee did to you, I would feel that I could never trust them again and want rid of them straight away. However, saying all that it might be worth listening to the employee's side of the story and find out what drove him to steal from you. Perhaps there is a small possibility that this person will mend their ways and become the most loyal employee you can imagine. Again, I don't think I'd be strong enough to keep them on myself, but maybe you don't want to rule out the possibility?

    Good luck with it and please do post back to let us know your thoughts and to update us on the situation.
     
  3. Ted

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    I had this happen to me before when I found out that a trusted employee and friend of mine was stealing from me. I fired him immediately on the spot and said that he was lucky I wasn't calling the police to have him arrested and prosecuted. I also told him I now considered him a worthless piece of lowlife garbage. I told him that our friendship was permanently destroyed and that I would forever think of him as just a common criminal scumbag. I told him to be sure to never use me as a reference for any future employment opportunities because I would openly tell the other business owner, business manager or HR person that he was a thief.

    The guy left in tears. It was obvious that I reduced his self esteem about as low as it could go. I think that he felt worse about losing me as a friend than losing his job. The amount of money he stole from me was a meaningful amount to me. I only caught him the one time, but I suspected he had stolen from me before this.

    I didn't get the police involved because I felt that my own level of punishment was enough. I don’t know if the guy changed his ways or not after that point, but I was convinced that this moment in his life was emotional enough in a bad way and meaningful enough that maybe it helped straighten him out.
     
  4. Jp35

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    Thanks for sharing your experience. What you have described above is exactly what I want to do but I am cautious of doing this as I am afraid of leaving myself exposed to some sort of retribution from this guy. He knows a lot about my business and dont want him to use this knowledge to damage me in the future.
    Obviously I also cant allow this to go unpunished and that my relationship with this guy is now unfortunately ruined but I feel I must treat this situation carefully.
     
  5. scifi

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    My experience says that Theft in small form or big form happens in every organization small or big in size...
    But here the fault is on your side that he has been doing this since four months and you have discovered it now....

    Management knows everything what is going on in the organization, who is stealing or what but as long as ROI and contribution from the person is high enough to tolerate his acts, he is given warning as an indication most of time...

    In this case trade off is your Investment on Him V/s Amount he has stolen...

    Decision is now yours!!!
     
    #5 scifi, Jan 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013

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