Employee Theft Investigation

Conducting an Employee Theft Investigation is never easy since the penalty generally is termination, or at least it should be. Therefore, it is very important to make sure it is what it is! Do your fact finding carefully and diligently!

Several years ago I conducted an Employee Theft Investigation that involved our Housekeeping Department. The problem that was occurring was that a number of larger items were coming up missing and no one had an explanation for the disappearance. These were items like area rugs, furniture, and' other larger pieces like these.

At first we explained it away by assuming that these items were not stolen but just misplaced somewhere in our very large facility. This seemed reasonable since we believed it would be very difficult to carry these items out without. someone not seeing them. I guess this happened over a period of about three to four months.

Employee Theft Case- Put up road blocks...

Finally, a carpenter noticed a rolled up area rug that looked fairly new in a dumpster away from the facility. Without drawing a lot of attention to this we decided to wait and see if someone was going to come back later and take it. As part of our Employee Investigation we decided at this point not to ask anyone whether they had placed the rug into the dumpster.

Later on that evening someone did come back for the rug and as they were removing it from the dumpster and into their vehicle we confronted them. It was a housekeeper.

Now our Employee Theft Investigation was not complete because they claimed that they had just noticed the rug in the dumpster and since it was being thrown away they thought that they could take it. He continued to stick with that answer.

However, since we had a policy that prohibited any employee from removing any items from the trash and we had a record of him signing that he understood the policy we continued to ask questions.

Ultimately he did admit that he had placed the area rug in the dumpster earlier that day and had returned to take it. He claimed it was trash and was directed to throw it away, but our Employee Theft Investigation was unable to find anyone instructing him to do so.

It is very important to have employee policies that will help you during any Employee Investigation whether it is a Theft or a routine one. Just like the policy we had where no employee was permitted to remove items from the trash, and this meant small containers also, it helped us eliminate a problem.

Good Luck and May God Bless You!

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