What to Do If You Think an Employee is Stealing from Your Business
By the very nature of the relationship, employers must put a considerable amount of trust in the hands of their employees. Unfortunately, in far too many cases, this trust is abused. According to reporting from CNBC, employee theft causes American businesses to lose nearly $50 billion each year.
For small business owners, employee theft can cause serious financial distress and real emotional harm. It is crucial that business owners and managers know how to effectively respond to suspicions of employee theft or employee fraud. Here, our Miami business & consumer fraud lawyers explain four important things that you should do if you believe that one of your employees is stealing from your company.
- Be Proactive: Protect Your Business From Additional Losses
As a starting point, business owners must be proactive in putting a stop to the theft/fraud. If you suspect that an employee is stealing from your company, the first thing you need to do is to protect yourself from any further losses. How exactly you should do that depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Though, it could include immediate termination of the employee. At the very least, it requires removing their access to business assets.
- Organize All Relevant Documents, Records, and Evidence
In taking action against an employee who has defrauded your business, you will need proof that the offense occurred. Make sure you gather, secure, and organize all documents, records, and evidence that prove that the theft or fraud has taken place. Ultimately, the more evidence that you have in your possession, the easier it will be to take legal action—and, potentially, recover financial damage.
- Avoid ‘Self-Help’ Justice
The most common mistake that business owners make when attempting to address employee theft is trying to pursue ‘self-help’ justice. It is an understandable impulse, but it could be a serious mistake. As an example, if you terminate the worker who is suspected of theft, do not withhold their wages without first consulting with an attorney. In some cases, doing so could actually subject your business to financial penalties. You need a lawyer.
- Get Professional Help
It is always best to seek professional help. In many cases, this means calling the police and filing a criminal report. Though, for a wide range of different reasons, not all business owners actually want to do that. In fact, some business owners resist reporting the theft to law enforcement, particularly if the allegations only involve minor theft. Even if you are ready or interested in filing a criminal report, you should speak to a business fraud attorney. Your lawyer will be able to review the specific circumstances and help you understand your legal options.
Speak to Our Miami, FL Business Fraud Attorneys Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business fraud lawyers provide strong, solutions-oriented legal support to clients. If you believe that an employee is stealing from your company, we are here to help. To set up a confidential, please call us today. From our West Palm Beach and Miami law offices, we serve business owners throughout South Florida, including in Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County, and beyond.