WANTED: Employees caught with their fingers in the jar
Why would anyone pocket cash from an employer?
You know you’re a fair boss. You make sure sick leave is paid, you make developing staff skills a priority, and after a hard week, everyone has a beer in their hand on Friday at 4pm. You trust and respect your employees - you wouldn’t have hired them otherwise! - and you believe people (largely) aren’t opportunistic.
However, even the most exemplary cashier, executive or CEO shoulders their own burden away from the workplace. They face impossible and pressurised situations that you know nothing about.
Expenses fraud and theft at work is often the fallout of these pressures. You can’t control what happens at home, or the moral compass of the people that work for you, but what you can do is thoroughly manage the books (like a boss) and learn from the experiences of other unlucky employers…
Barman Jordan Rowlands, 23, faked refunds for customers and used the £70,000 cash to fund a luxury bachelor lifestyle. When asked why he did it, Rowlands said he felt the management didn’t like him and it was revenge for the long hours he had to work at the club.
Sharing Is Caring
Care home owner Caroline Rice of Leicester was found guilty in 2007 of stealing money from residents with learning disabilities. She kept part of the money she withdrew from bank accounts on their behalf and covered up her theft by false accounting.
The Safe Exchange
Former junior manager Ania Wadsworth walked free from court in 2010 after being cleared of stealing nearly £1 million from Lloyds TSB. The 28-year-old from north London admitted taking the money but claimed she had been forced to do it by her drug addict boyfriend. She told the court: "If I came home without it, I'd get hurt."
Handle With Care
If you suspect an employee of theft, take care not to jump to any conclusions. Carry out an investigation to gather any hard evidence.
Whether you carry out audits, used marked notes in the till or have a company credit card or corporate expenses card, ensure you are being fair, don’t confront an employee without evidence and do not announce that you are investigating suspected theft because it could land you in hot water.
You’ve always been a fair boss, so keep it that way. Follow the guidance offered by HR experts. And, if you want a second opinion, remember that ACAS offers free and impartial advice for employers involved in disputes.