6 Possible Types of Theft in the Workplace

Employee theft is an issue for many companies, big or small. Employees who steal from their employers do it for a variety of reasons: it can happen because they feel like they are underpaid, or simply because they think stealing from the company they work for is too easy.

Business theft is a serious allegation, often involving an investigator and the best employment lawyer. One of the best ways to prevent theft is to conduct a workplace investigation within your business. Running a background check on each new employee and installing security cameras are also good ways to try to prevent employee theft, although these methods might not be enough.

What do employees steal from their employers, exactly? Read more about these 6 types of theft in the workplace.

1. Theft of cash

Theft of cash is one of the most common types of theft in the workplace. When an employee takes money from the cash register, this is called larceny. If the employee stealing money from the register is a cashier, however, this is called embezzlement since the employee had legal access to this money.

Theft of cash also happens when an employee takes money from a tip jar, tampers with company checks to pay themselves what they want, or receives a payment from a customer but keeps the money in their pocket instead of placing it in the register.

2. Theft of products

Many employees who work in retail stores or in restaurants are stealing products from their employers. They could be taking something from a shelf without paying it, or eating or drinking something straight from a refrigerator. If they allow their friends to use their employee discount on their purchases, this is another type of product theft.

Employees working in a office can also commit product theft if they take some office supplies from the storeroom to bring them home.

3. Theft of services

Employees can also steal services from the company they work for. This can happen if they perform a service for a friend or a family member during their work hours, but ask for no payment.

These types of theft in the workplace also happen if they use their work equipment and their company vehicle to do some work for someone, then ask for a payment that they keep for themselves.

Theft of services also occurs when an employee uses a service such as the fax machine of their company for personal reasons.

4. Theft of ideas

Theft of ideas happens when an employee uses or sells information and ideas that belong to the company they work for. That can include the copy of a business plan, or a list of new product ideas that have not yet been developed.

When an employee is fired, or resigns, and starts working for a competitor, they are stealing from their former employer if they are using confidential information in their new job. This is why many employers ask their employees to sign a noncompete or a nondisclosure agreement.

5. Theft of customer data

Theft of customer data occurs when an employee sells customer data and contact information to another company, or uses it for personal purposes. Whether that happens when they are working for a company, or after they have resigned, this is an important issue.

These types of theft in the workplace can damage the reputation of a company, but it can also have devastating consequences for their customers if the data that has been stolen includes credit card numbers, and other sensitive information.

6. Time theft

Time theft in the workplace is more common than you might think. These types of theft in the workplace can take many forms.

Time card fraud happens when employees are not clocking in and out correctly. They might only be stealing a few minutes at a time, but these minutes will slowly add up and become hours. There are also employees who lie about the amount of hours they have worked in a day, or ask a friend to clock in and out for them, which is called buddy punching.

An employee who takes extended breaks is also stealing time from their employer. They might not realize that they are doing it, but if it keeps happening repeatedly, they need to be reminded to respect their break schedule.

Spending time online for purposes that are not related to the work they are doing is another common type of employee time theft. Many employees need to use the Internet for their job, which makes it easy for them to check their personal emails or go waste some time on Facebook during their work hours. Taking personal calls at the office is another type of time theft.

Finally, there are employees who only come in to clock in and out, but leave their workplace in between, which means they are being paid for a full shift while they were not even at work. Those are called ghost employees, and they are completely aware of what they are doing, unlike employees who might simply not be clocking in and out properly.

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