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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard subnet_rx's Avatar
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    Employees stealing, what can I do?

    One of my employees, I don't know which, took $500 from the petty cash this weekend. I know I can fire them, but what else can I do? Anything?

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    SitePoint Wizard Lil_Red's Avatar
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    Can you prove they took the money?

    You might also want to consider placing petty cash somewhere secure when the office is closed.

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    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    I wouldn't fire more than one person for only suspicion of theft. If you can get to the bottom of it and find out who did it, fire the party/parties responsible. You can also prosecute the offending employee (laws and penalties will vary depending on where you live; check with your local law offices). Finally, if you give new hires some kind of employee handbook, state clearly in there that this kind of thing will not be tolerated, outline the potential penalties involved if you do catch an employee stealing, and stick to it. If employees see that you don't stick to your written word (at least, as far as the handbook goes) they won't take you as seriously.

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    SitePoint Wizard subnet_rx's Avatar
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    well, the employee that has responsibility for the money was on his/her last day. So firing is out the of question anyway. We come in the next day, and find the money is missing. I could question all day long, no one is going to admit it. I mean, I don't see what's stopping someone from stealing all they want on the last day of work as long as it's off camera.

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    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by subnet_rx
    I mean, I don't see what's stopping someone from stealing all they want on the last day of work as long as it's off camera.
    The threat of prosecution is a big deterrent for most people (I know it is for me, otherwise hey let me just walk off with that shiny Mac on my last day). If you can prove that it was him then get the law involved and get your money back, or at least make your former employee pay for what he did wrong.

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    SitePoint Wizard Lil_Red's Avatar
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    A couple of things I would do in the future:
    1) Limit the petty cash to a max of $50
    2) Keep control of the petty cash box yourself. An employee needs petty cash for something, they come to you.

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    SitePoint Wizard subnet_rx's Avatar
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    well, there are problems with that. With the family entertainment business that we're in, we go through a lot more petty cash (change for 20's, 10's, etc.) in a day.

    Also, I can't be there all the time. And can't afford something like a manager. At least not a good one.

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    Non-Member Gator99's Avatar
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    The problem is that the responsiblity for the cash is split among all employees and no one employee can be held accountable. What you do is sign out a specific amount (say $300) of petty cash to each employee. Then as they go through change and such, or at the end of the day, they sign it back in. Kind of like what a casino does. But I wouldn't recommend bashing the theives hand with a hammer, like in the movies.

  9. #9
    Twitter - @CarlBeckel busy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by subnet_rx
    well, the employee that has responsibility for the money was on his/her last day.
    If someone had responsiblity for the money, then the consequences should fall back on that person. If you still owe that person a paycheck, I would take the money out from there, and let them know they have to pay you whatever that doesn't cover. Since they were responsible for the money, the fact that it's missing is due to that person's negligence. Get the police involved and take them to court if you have to, a case in small claims court is not too much of a hassle, but will send a very clear message to the other employees who see you go through it. If the person who did it gets away with it and still works for you, the last thing you want is for them to watch you do nothing. Then they'll think you're an easy target, and may do it again.

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    SitePoint Evangelist mdew_junkie's Avatar
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    I would confront individually each employee and get an idea of whether anyone's aware of what happened or has any idea/clue. Like that you make them aware you know something's wrong, you're working to fix it, and you're not clueless and to be taken advantage of. YOu might find out that the thief is among one of those still working for you or maybe not. You also get people who can back you up as a result that you proceeded along a reasonable course of action for the next step, if you get not result, which is you confront the person who left.

    You can say you've investigated all other possibilities, and that given the others' statements, and the fact that day was his last day and he had responsibility for the petty cash, he's under strong suspicions, and that unless he can definitely prove he's not the one, you're going to go to take the legal/police course of action. Don't know what the statute is, but $500, while not necessarily huge, can be in some places considered a serious offense. If you're going to do something about this, make sure you do everything by the book and build a solid foundation for a legal case/complaint. In that case, either the threat will resolve the issue or the police/courts will.

    Don't be afraid to act, otherwise this will happen again. Also, I think the parcelling out of cash among employees who have to sign in for it is I think a good idea.

  11. #11
    With More ! for your $ maxor's Avatar
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    Interview all employees who you think had something do with it (witness, accomplice etc.).

    DO NOT threaten them or promise them anything.

    e.g.
    "If you don't cooperate with me I can call the police"
    "Just tell me what you know and I promise nothing bad will happen"

    Also... Call the police and file a report, see what they tell you.

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    SitePoint Wizard Crowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by subnet_rx
    well, there are problems with that. With the family entertainment business that we're in, we go through a lot more petty cash (change for 20's, 10's, etc.) in a day.

    Also, I can't be there all the time. And can't afford something like a manager. At least not a good one.
    That's exactly why a superior should be present on the last day of someone who has access to money (or inventory, or security codes etc.) This sounds like a very bad case of processing someone out. If you don't have it on tape the worst you can do is suspect them. A very expensive $500 lesson. Time to revise your procedure and NOT let someone handle money on their last day.
    Chrispian H. Burks
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    With More ! for your $ maxor's Avatar
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    Another note...

    Don't think that nobody will tell you anything if you interview them. Even though employee's think they know what's going on, you can always fool them into thinking that you've got the upper hand, and you'd be very surprised to see how easily people will crack when under pressure and tell you something they otherwise would not have.

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    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by busy
    If someone had responsiblity for the money, then the consequences should fall back on that person. If you still owe that person a paycheck, I would take the money out from there, and let them know they have to pay you whatever that doesn't cover. Since they were responsible for the money, the fact that it's missing is due to that person's negligence. Get the police involved and take them to court if you have to, a case in small claims court is not too much of a hassle, but will send a very clear message to the other employees who see you go through it. If the person who did it gets away with it and still works for you, the last thing you want is for them to watch you do nothing. Then they'll think you're an easy target, and may do it again.
    I'm not sure that withholding a person's paycheck based only on suspicion of theft is legal. I may be wrong though, and again the laws about this may vary between states and municipalities. It still doesn't seem like the best way to go in my opinion.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard subnet_rx's Avatar
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    I've checked a few law sites and they say I can't unless it's gross negligence and even that is hard to prove.

  16. #16
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crowe
    That's exactly why a superior should be present on the last day of someone who has access to money (or inventory, or security codes etc.) This sounds like a very bad case of processing someone out. If you don't have it on tape the worst you can do is suspect them. A very expensive $500 lesson. Time to revise your procedure and NOT let someone handle money on their last day.
    Should also have any employees handling large sums of money bonded and insured against this kind of thing.
    Wayne Luke
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast websiteunited's Avatar
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    Right.. if I were you, I would immediately get the authorities involved. This is a true crime, and I would not tolerate this from anybody.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Evangelist mdew_junkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by subnet_rx
    I've checked a few law sites and they say I can't unless it's gross negligence and even that is hard to prove.
    Well you still have the options of interviewing the other employees, confronting the former staffmember and calling the cops. Still plenty of wiggle room for you. You're the one who got ripped off.

  19. #19
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    By the way... In some jurisdictions, $500 passes the boundary of petty theft (misdeamenor/minor felony) and becomes grand theft (Class A Felony).
    Wayne Luke
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  20. #20
    busy Steelsun's Avatar
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    If you are certain it was the person who no longer works there - file a police report on the theft and name him as the primary suspect.

    And as others have stated - control access to the money more. Employee theft is a big factor in the loss of many businesses profits and can even kill a biz. Have some form of accountability in place. Even Mickey D's does this.

    Another option is to hook up a web camera or fake camera in the area of the cash box. That is often a deterance.
    Brian Poirier
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    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
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    I'd be very careful following any advice we give you. The laws in many states are unfairly slanted to the employee, so check with your State's Labor Board before you do anything. Here in California, you'll get in big trouble for withholding wages. (I would not even confront anyone before talking to them.) If you react inappropriately, you could be the one facing legal action.

    I grew up in a family business and there were numerous times employees stole from us. One employee was caught by the police when he jumped the back fence at night to retrieve merchandise he had hidden in the back lot during the day. Even though he was blantly caught stealing and fired because of it, by law we were not allowed to divulge that information to anyone who called to check on his references. If they asked us if we'd hire him again, the most we could say was 'No.'

  22. #22
    Intoxicated with the madness petertdavis's Avatar
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    For that amount of cash I'd get the police involved. Perhaps just having the police visit during business hours will elicit some kind of reaction from your thief.
    Peter T Davis

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  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by subnet_rx
    well, there are problems with that. With the family entertainment business that we're in, we go through a lot more petty cash (change for 20's, 10's, etc.) in a day.

    Also, I can't be there all the time. And can't afford something like a manager. At least not a good one.
    You might consider implementing a system similar to a bank's. Each teller has a cash limit and they must balance at the end of they day. Each one has a drawer that only they have a key for. They are responsible for locking it whenever they are away from their station. Each time they are out of balance, they are written up. Specify in their employment contract how many times you'll allow this before you terminate them.

  24. #24
    Currently Occupied; Till Sunda Andrew-J2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johntabita
    I'd be very careful following any advice we give you.
    String them up by their ankles and beat it out of them

  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard subnet_rx's Avatar
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    well, I'd like to thank everyone for their advice. We decided to basically do nothing but improve security. We are shutting down for a week to install some new monitoring devices, and go over a system of checks for the employees to go through. I just can't call the police on someone that may or may not have done it.

    I doubt they will do anything anyway. We had $2000 worth of merchandise stolen a few months ago. We had the thieves on two seperate cameras, got the vehicle on camera, and had fingerprints of one of the thieves, and nothing happened. We called the detective several times after the day it happened with no answer and no call back. So, needless to say, we aren't that confident in our local police.

    All employees that we had working for us are now finding new jobs anyway, some for personal reasons, but the two in question, we just encouraged to find new jobs and they did. So now I have the task of finding three new employees in a two week period that will be qualified to be able to add on a calculator, use a cash register, and be courteous to customers. This task in itself will probably cost me another $500 in classified listing fees.


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