Managing Workplace Theft in Alberta

Nick Babington

July 29 2019

Theft is a serious crime that, unfortunately, is a real concern in the workplace. To prevent these occurrences, it is essential employers take a proactive stance on the issue. This article offers key insights on controlling theft in your business.

What is workplace theft?

Theft in the workplace, is the misuse of employer assets without permission. Theft can target much more then money or company products. Other company assets vulnerable to theft are:

  • Time: When employees fabricate their hours worked; leading to the individual being paid for hours he/she did not work.
  • Information: If an employee steals trade secrets, classified company documents or product designs.
  • 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.

All companies are susceptible to theft. However, this offence is especially hard on small to medium-sized companies; as they typically have less anti-theft controls and resources for financial cushioning–than their larger counterparts.

How Should I Respond to Theft in my Workplace?

The Alberta Employment Standards Code (ESC), does not require employers to provide termination notice for cases involving wilful misconduct (theft is a form of this). This is known as dismissal for just cause. Prior to terminating an employee, it is important prove you have grounds for dismissal – this helps mitigate a potential lawsuit from an employee. Outlined below, is the correct course of action for an employer to prove an employee is guilty of workplace theft: Perform a Formal InvestigationCollect all evidence, supporting your allegation towards this employee’s dishonest actions. A proper investigation includes:

  • Collecting written evidence (i.e., bank statements);
  • 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.

Come to a Decision After talking with 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 uncertain how to handle theft in your workplace?

For more advice on managing theft in the workplace, contact our HR experts. We will answer your questions and help implement policies on workplace theft or update existing ones; to

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