Three steps to take when an employer suspects an employee is stealing

May 31, 2017

Many employers have been asking what must happen if they strongly believe an employee is stealing from them.
Well, the answer is simple: The employer needs to take action! It must follow its gut! By ignoring the suspicions, all the employer will be doing is paying for more and more missing items in the workplace.
So to help the employer take action, here are three steps that should be taken if it is suspected that an employee is stealing.
Do not waste time. If it is noticed that stock is going missing, investigate it immediately!
Look at the shift register to see who was working at the time the stock went missing.
If there is an employee(s), in that register, who could be suspected to be the culprit, monitor them. For example, keep a close eye on what times they clock in before and after working hours. Also check what e-mails they are sending.
CAUTION: Their e-mails can only be checked if a proper policy is in place that allows the employer to do so.
Keep records of all potential suspicious behaviour that are noticed. This can all help in building a case against the suspected employee in a disciplinary enquiry.
NOTE: It is not easy to build convincing evidence against a suspected employee using the above-mentioned steps, but it is at least something, and everything here really does count.
Very often it is difficult to prove theft in a company, but that is why entrapment is a legitimate means to prove an employee guilty. However, employers need to be very careful when attempting to entrap a suspected employee. One small error could lead to the entire attempt being illegal!
We shall discuss entrapment in our next article.

Disclaimer: LabourMan exclusively provides services to employers.

The content does not constitute legal advice, are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Kindly contact us on or 021 556 1075 to speak to one of our consultants.


Wallace Albertyn

Wallace Albertyn is a Senior Associate and Legal Advisor at LabourMan Consultants.

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