This is what you should do if you suspect theft in the workplace It is shocking to learn that as a result of the current economic climate of frozen wages and rising costs of living, workplace theft is on the rise. According to smallbusiness.co.uk, data from The National Fraud Agency reveals that ‘theft and business fraud costs the UK economy as much as £73 billion a year, and this figure has actually risen since the start of 2017.’ 1 Mistrust in the workplace is an anomaly – it doesn’t work. Any role involves a significant amount of responsibility and trust, the employee is a cog in the wider wheel of the whole business and brand, if they are working against the organisation- you have a major problem on your hands. From mis-use of confidential data that you have trusted them to see, to dishonest swindling of money, goods or equipment, the employee is damaging the business, brand and workplace community. Further still, they are clearly breaching company policies, procedures and codes of conduct. So the question of what to do when you suspect an employee is stealing is simple – right?
Well surprisingly, it is not, and left un-addressed, can go on, for years. The reason why? You have to have unquestionable evidence, that the employee is stealing from your workplace, through something official like a lie detector test otherwise you will quickly find yourself facing legal action from the employee that you were trying to eject.
Any action that you take must be blameless and based on evidence- so no honey traps or hidden cameras – they are both illegal and will land you in serious trouble, instead of the other way around. If you make the wrong move, you will either alert the dishonest employee, or place yourself in a position where you can be accused of discrimination or unfair dismissal and taken to court or a tribunal.
So what should you do if you suspect someone of potential fraud, physical theft, suspicious handling of sensitive data or something else dishonest?
One of the best things that you can do if you suspect an employee of theft, is to get them to undertake a lie detector test. A lie detector test will provide an independent report and concrete evidence, that you can use to put an end to the situation once and for all. You may even find that the mere mention of an impending lie detector test may even be enough to cause the offender to confess their misdemeanours. Now of course, when you deliver the announcement about the testing, don’t let the offender know that you suspect them of anything, get the whole team to undergo a test for a staff audit or some other plausible reason.
Once the test is complete, you will have valuable hard evidence from the outcomes of the polygraph test, you can use to consult HR, proceed as advised and possibly even use further down the road, if needed.
Other measures that you can take are to: review your company procedures and policies for security measures, keep a record of all reports of missing or unbalanced reporting or have a reshuffle of roles or responsibilities within the team on the pretext of a solid, believable reason. Apart from that, the only other two options that you are left with bring their own set of problems- they are to introduce spot searches or to try to catch the employee in the act- neither of which have positive longer term outcomes. Regain control of the situation and book a lie detector test with one of our friendly experts today. Put an end to the losses and obtain some evidence at last.