When hands-on is not welcome

Jan. 1, 2020
A guide to preventing employee pilfering.

Every business can fall victim to employee theft, and the aftermarket is no exception. With small parts that easily fit into pockets and cash in the register, you are inevitably susceptible to untrustworthy employees from time to time.

John Case, a security management consultant, says studies by the Department of Commerce, American Management Association and other organizations estimate that employees steal over $1 billion a week from their unknowing employers.

Case explains in an article that managers have to accept the possibility that employees you hired, trust and work beside are capable of engaging in such a disloyal and dishonest activity. He emphasizes that employees do and will steal from you, often times rationalizing that the opportunity presented itself. His booklet, Employee Theft, The Profit Killer, points to many misconceptions regarding employee theft, including:

  • Most theft is carried out by shoppers not employees.
  • Well-paid employees or seniors won’t steal.
  • Honest employees will report employee theft if they know of it.
  • It’s easy to determine if someone is stealing from you.

Case, who serves as president of a security management consulting firm that equips companies with strategies to prevent theft, drug abuse and violence in the workplace, says that for those employees who have been caught, many will cite that their main motivation was created by management, adding that, “another significant reason employees give for stealing is their perceived belief that management was stealing so it was OK for them to also do so. This condition proves the point that, if management wants a theft-free work environment, it must set the example of honesty and adherence to policies.”

To learn more about Case’s booklet, Employee Theft, The Profit Killer, visit www.employeetheft.com .

Steps to dealing with theft If you've realized someone has been stealing from you, don't overreact. This problem can result in even more issues if it's not handled accordingly. Security Consultant John Case recommends following these steps:
  • Evaluate the source and validity of where the employee theft complaint came from.
  • Do your homework and secure any and all information or evidence regarding the alleged theft prior to taking action.
  • If necessary, review your findings with an attorney and auditor.
  • Educate yourself on the legal and labor concerns regarding interviewing a suspect.
  • Don't stray from securing the truth and facts surrounding the allegation.