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Employee theft accusations require careful handling

As a business owner, you have a duty to protect your investment. One thing that you can't allow to happen is employee theft. You may have done everything you could think of to prevent this from occurring; however, there is a chance that someone might be too tempted by the money that flows through the business.

If you do have an employee you think is stealing from you, be sure that you react appropriately. You can't just get angry and act in an unprofessional manner. You are still representing your company, and the way you respond can have a significant impact on what happens next.

You should ensure that you have evidence of what was taken. Whether the theft is of money, data or assets, you need to be able to show what happened. If you choose to speak to the employee, be careful about using the word "theft" because that might open you up to litigation. Instead, focus on how the employee violated policy or mishandled company property. Be sure to document everything if you terminate the person's employment thoroughly.

If money or assets are taken, contact the police. You may need a police report to make an insurance claim. This also sets the stage for the employee to face criminal charges if there is enough evidence.

Be careful about what you say to others about the situation. Your company could face litigation for slander or similar claims. It is always better to keep matters like this between parties who need to know about them and who aren't going to announce the situation to everyone around them.

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