Addressing Theft in Ontario Workplaces

Peninsula Team

July 23 2019

Every employer dreams of a workforce with complete trust; where theft is not even a foresight. However, a proactive stance on workplace theft, is essential in preventing these occurrences. Below, are key insights on managing theft in your business.

What does workplace theft encompass?

Theft includes much more than an employee stealing money or company products. Employee theft is a misuse of employer assets without permission. These assets can take various forms, such as:

  • Information: If an employee steals trade secrets, classified company documents or product designs.
  • Time: Typically occurs when employees fabricate their hours worked; leading to the individual being paid for hours he/she did not work.
  • Supplies/Company property: This section includes common office supplies, such as papers and pens to larger items (e.g., laptops).
  • Money: When employees steal cash from the company.

Although businesses of all sizes face theft; this issue is especially difficult on small to medium-sized companies. Smaller infrastructures often translate to fewer anti-theft controls and less resources for financial cushioning. Theft also ruins company morale, through broken trust, and often results in the employer increasing security measures on employees (i.e., identification badges, surveillance cameras and restricting employee access to company materials–like office equipment and supplies).

How do I address theft in my workplace?

In cases involving willful misconduct (theft is a form of this), you are not required by the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) to provide the employee with termination notice. This is known as termination with cause. However, even if you are convinced an individual is guilty of theft, it’s imperative you take the correct steps to prove this. Below, is the best course of action for employers to take:

Complete a Formal Investigation

Obtain all possible evidence, supporting your allegation towards this employee’s dishonest actions. A proper investigation includes:

  • Collecting written evidence (i.e., bank statements, stock reports, etc.);
  • Collecting any security footage to support your claims;
  • Interviewing individuals that may have been witnesses.

Meet with the Employee in Question

This meeting is to present your evidence and gather the employee’s response. Proper scheduling of this meeting includes:

  • A written meeting invitation to the employee;
  • Providing 24 hours of notice that you intend to have this meeting;
  • Allowing the employee to bring a support person.

Make a Decision

After hearing the employee, you can make an informed decision; regarding this employee’s future in your company. If you can objectively prove this employee committed theft, you have grounds to terminate the individual’s employment.

Still have questions on theft in the workplace?

Our HR experts are equipped to help you navigate workplace theft in compliance with the law. We will help implement policies on workplace theft or update existing ones; to prevent theft in your organization. For assistance, call us today at: 1 (833) 247-3652. 

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