Investigating suspected employee theft

Q. I think one of our employees is stealing. What are the proper steps to take to handle this situation?

A. Don’t act hastily. First, conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether the employee is, in fact, stealing. You can suspend the employee during the investigation. Once you have gathered all the relevant information and interviewed the appropriate witnesses, meet with the employee and give him or her an opportunity to respond.

If you conclude that the employee did steal, then follow your company’s policies in deciding how to discipline the employee. Be careful to treat the employee consistently with respect to other employees who have engaged in similar conduct. Be sure to document the investigation process and conclusion.