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Can you terminate an employee for stealing?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2023 | BUSINESS & COMMERCIAL LAW - Contract Disputes

Terminating an employee is not that easy. You typically need a legitimate reason to do so, such as stealing from work. If you believe your employee is stealing or using company property without permission, you should make calculated moves to eliminate the chances of being sued for wrongful termination. 

Here is what you should do:

Gather evidence

It’s crucial to have solid evidence against an employee who is stealing from the business. Your investigation may depend on the theft. For instance, if an employee is stealing supplies, video footage in the storage room can help you obtain needed information. If an employee is faking invoices, you may need to review your financial records to identify discrepancies. 

Note that you may need to suspend the employee during an investigation. Nonetheless, it may be best to handle the first stages of investigation without the employee knowing you suspect them of theft. This way, they won’t have time to hide evidence, and you might catch them in the act.

Further, you may need to assign an investigator to gather evidence for you. This may be a department manager or an external party. Ensure that you establish confidentiality with your investigative team. They should only share the information they gather with the team or law enforcement if you involve them.

Follow company procedures to terminate the employee

After gathering adequate evidence against the employee, you can discipline or fire them. If you choose the latter option, you should follow the procedures included in the employment contract to avoid breaching it.  

Terminating an employee for stealing may not be as straightforward as expected. It will be best to get legal guidance when doing this to protect your company and reputation.