What do I need to do if I suspect an employee is stealing?


Additional Information:

I am a small business owner in Framingham, MA and suspect one of my employees is stealing from me.  What do I need to do?  Contact an attorney?  the police?  Can I install a video surveillance without notifying the employees?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

It’s probably unwise to install video cameras without telling your workers, though you may be permitted to do so as long as you do not invade privacy. Apart from the practicalities involved and the potential legal implications, why would you want to spend the substantial money required to videotape all of your workers just to catch the wrongdoing of one of them? This may both cost you money and, perhaps more importantly, lead to unhappiness among your other employees. The last thing you want here is to shift focus from the wrongdoing of one worker — whom you may or may not nab stealing though a new video camera — to you as an employer. No one likes to be secretly videotaped, a form of spying. Installing cameras openly, however, may be a different matter. This often deters theft or other wrongdoing by employees.

If you  think one of your workers is stealing, undertake your own investigation to start. I trust you have a sense  how this is being done and can review financial or bank records for evidence. You might also find other ways to watch a particular employee’s conduct on the job, either yourself or by enlisting another employee to help you. If none of this is practical or if it simply does not work, a direct confrontation with the worker may be in order. You might be surprised to learn that thieves often fess up when confronted, especially if they are surprised by questioning, when even a denial can suggest guilt because of the way it is delivered. Remember that as an employer, you are generally free to terminate your employees when you want, with or without cause. If you believe a worker is stealing, you can summarily terminate him/her for that reason. If you obtain evidence of actual theft, job termination and a call to the local police may be in order.

Framingham Employment Lawyer, Jack Merrill, provides legal representation to employees, employers and businesses in Framingham and throughout the Boston metro west area including Ashland, Dedham, Franklin, Hopkinton, Maynard, Marlborough, Milford, Natick, Needham, Newton, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sudbury, Waltham, and Worcester, Massachusetts.