Employee Stealing and How to Handle

One human resources issue we receive the most calls about is employee relations. Employee relations refer to the behaviors of an employee, and how employees interact with other employees, supervisors, customers, and the company as a whole.  This includes employee misconduct. These issues play out differently for each company and in every situation, but we have enough experience with such a wide variety of concerns that we can help our clients come up with a workable game plan.


Theft is one such employee misconduct issue that we hear about. Although it seems like an almost laughable caricature of office life, it can be a truly overwhelming and stressful situation when it actually happens in your office. Here are three steps you can implement immediately when this kind of thing arises in your company.

Review Your Company Policies

When you begin receiving reports or having your own suspicions of stealing, the very first thing you want to do is review your company policy. Go back to your employee handbook and other documents to see what procedures you have laid out, in the case of stealing or other misconduct. Also go back through your files and your memory to other situations, especially similar infractions to stealing. Both the policies and the precedents will help clarify what your employees and the whistleblowers may be expecting to happen. It will also give you direction to ensure you are treating current employees and past employees fairly and equally.

Conduct Thorough Interviews

Once you have an idea of what history and your handbook tell you, it’s time for an employee misconduct investigation. Talk with all the parties involved, including those who have witnessed and reported the stealing. These interviews may lead you to others who need to be interviewed. Be thorough, keep notes, and take your time. Gather the facts objectively before making any decisions.

Get Someone in Your Corner

As with so many employee relations issues, these conversations and situations can be emotional. We recommend having a neutral third party that you can rely on during these difficult times. Having that outside resource on hand can help you think through the issues clearly and assist you in following your own policies and precedents. They can also sit with you in meetings and help you listen objectively.

Every Company Is Different

We know you probably get tired of hearing that, but it’s true. To most HR questions, our answer is often, “It Depends!” After all, every situation will play out differently. That is one of the benefits of working so closely with Coastal. Our representatives know you and your business, as well as HR policies and laws, so when issues come up they can walk our clients through them reliably. If you need to talk to someone about employee relations, drop us a line today.


Legal Disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal information or advice. This information and all Coastal Payroll materials are provided in consultation with federal and state statutes and do not encompass other regulations that may exist, such as local ordinances. Transmission of documents or information through the Coastal Payroll does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.