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Helping hands helping themselves - what to do if an employee steals from you

By Claire Mansell - 23 Jun 2014

We are increasingly hearing of stories in the media of "trusted" employees stealing from their employer. Employee theft can take different forms - from stealing cash from the till to complicated schemes involving fake invoices and fictitious employees. Whatever form it takes, employee theft is an awful experience for employers - financially and emotionally. Below are some steps we can take to minimise the damage.

Step 1: Dismissal

An employer's first reaction will be to dismiss the employee. Employers must ensure they follow the correct process. Even if an employee is caught with their hands in the till, they are still entitled to be treated fairly. The last thing an employer wants is for the thief to bring a successful personal grievance on the grounds of unfair process!

Step 2: Lodging a claim

Employers can make a claim in the Employment Relations Authority. Alternatively, employers can lay a complaint with the police, but there is no guarantee that the criminal court will order the employee to repay the stolen funds. A police complaint will effectively stall the claim in the Employment Relations Authority until the criminal proceedings are over.

Step 3: Recovery

Once an employer has a judgment in the ERA, there are a number of ways to recover your money. For example, an employer can:

  • get an order that the employee pay the debt off in weekly instalments
  • be granted a security interest over the employee's property
  • in some circumstances, set off the amount that the employee has stolen against any unpaid wages and holiday pay

If you have discovered an employee has stolen funds contact Claire Mansell today to stop a bad situation becoming worse.


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