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You want to think the best of every person on your team, but right now, something just isn’t adding up. Whether inventory or cash keeps mysteriously disappearing, your gut feeling is screaming something is up.

It’s important to nip theft in the bud quickly, but wisely. Here’s some advice to help you take control of the situation the right way.

Know When to Be Suspicious

Your business is your lifeline, so it’s important to keep a watchful eye on every aspect. Since theft can be hard to spot, you need to be aware of telltale signs that something isn’t right. For example, if money is always mysteriously missing from your petty cash drawer or small amounts of inventory keep vanishing, something might be up.

Unfortunately, employee theft sometimes comes from the most unlikely people, so everyone needs to be a suspect until proven innocent.

Don’t Jump to Conclusions

Accusing employees of theft without proper evidence can lead to false accusations — and get you sued. Before making any moves, take inventory of the missing money or items. Make sure they weren’t accidentally placed elsewhere, because if you speak up, this isn’t something you want to be wrong about. It’s also important to gather enough evidence to ensure you’re looking at the right employee.

Get a Lawyer

Wrongfully accused employees can sue you for defamation, so quietly gather evidence and get an attorney involved. They’ll help you conduct an investigation and put together a solid legal case that would hold strong in court. Your lawyer will also make sure the measures you take to catch the thief in action are legal — i.e., wiretapping without consent is not legal, but video cameras used for surveillance are typically allowed.

Choose a Punishment that Fits the Crime

Employee theft is a tricky situation that needs to be handled on a case-by-case basis. In a situation where the theft is serious, you’ll likely need to terminate the person. However, if an otherwise good employee committed a relatively minor offense, you might decide to give them a second chance. The decision is yours, so try to be both smart and fair.

Put Better Safeguards in Place

The last thing you want is to have to deal with another employee theft. While there’s no sure way to avoid this, instituting extra checks and balances will help. For example, if you’re not already checking references during the hiring process, now is the time to start. It’s also wise to take other measures, such as performing regular audits, sharing your definition of fraud — and the consequences — and creating an anonymous way for people to report theft.

Find Out More

Need a little help finding Michiana team members you can trust? Wood Staffing is here to guide your search for quality employees. Contact us today to discuss a partnership!

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