Uphando Forensics

Caught Stealing at Work

Recent studies have shown that almost 75% of employees have stolen at least once from their place of employment. Stealing from work is completely unethical! So even if you think no one will notice the pens that are going missing it is still considered as theft, and there are consequences to face for even the smallest crime. Here we uncover what to do if you get caught stealing at work and the potential consequences you could face.

Once you’ve been caught in the act, it’s game over but to ensure you don’t dig yourself into a bigger hole, here are a few steps to follow:

Consult an attorney- Before you sign anything, you should seek legal advice. Speak to a labour law attorney who will be able to advise you on the steps you should take.

Review your employee handbook – Make sure you read through your company handbook, where you will find information on theft, misconduct and the relevant disciplinary procedures.

Talk to your manager – Whatever your reasons are for stealing it is still a criminal offence. Once you’ve already done it, you can’t undo it. Your next course of action is to talk to your manager and explain your motives. The best thing you can do at this point in time is to try and negotiate a deal so that no criminal charges are brought against you. You will need to pay back what you’ve stolen, but it’s better than facing jail time and expensive legal fees.

Admit to stealing – Stealing in the workplace doesn’t always involve expensive items…exaggerating your expenses, using company ink and paper for personal use or even doing other work on company time is considered as theft. If your boss or manager has the proof then there really isn’t much else you can do but admit to your misconduct and mistake.

The consequences

Gross misconduct – The starting point for employee theft is gross misconduct, meaning that you can be immediately dismissed without any prior warning

Termination – If you’ve been caught red handed, you’ll be immediately terminated for your actions

Criminal charges – If you’re lucky the company will allow you to payback what you have stolen but if the company decides to seek criminal justice, you could be facing jail time.