Theft by employees is a severe problem that affects businesses of all kinds. In truth, many people are unaware of the seriousness of these crimes and their influence on the economy as a whole.
According to Statistic Brain, staff theft accounted for nearly 42% of all product losses in US stores last year. It also accounts for 33% of all bankruptcies in the U.S., costing companies an estimated $50 billion each year.
As a result, being falsely accused of stealing can be an extremely stressful experience that can harm your reputation and limit your future career chances, which is why you should take necessary actions before the situation worsens.
With that in mind, here is a simple guide to navigating this issue and how to proceed if you have been falsely accused of stealing at work.
1. Verify the Allegations and Charge
To discuss the theft allegation, request a private meeting with your supervisor and a human resources representative. Having an objective witness in the room will guarantee that the talk is properly documented.
Pay attention to what your boss says and, if necessary, seek clarification on his points. Take notes during the talk so you may prepare your defense by gathering relevant documentation and locating witnesses to back up your claim.
2. You Have the Option to Remain Silent
You have the right to remain silent for a reason. In court, whatever you say or do can be used against you. What you say when people bring false charges against you is the same.
It is likely that in the heat of the moment, you will say or do something that could end up costing you a lot of money in court. It is far better to wait until you employ a lawyer to handle the talking for you.
3. Seek Legal Help
It is time to look for skilled legal representation after you have a clearer idea of what you are being accused of and how the investigation is being handled. Get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can guide you through the process.
Working with a lawyer is essential since it helps you to cooperate with the investigation without exacerbating the problem.
Too many employees have made the mistake of attempting to “clear the air” or “talk things out” with their bosses, only to discover that their efforts to resolve the problem have either further implicated them or led to further difficulties.
4. Gather Evidence to Support Your Case
Although having a video is ideal, witnesses might still be useful. Obtain facts and documentation; audit computer files and financial records.
You should also preserve evidence, such as documents, computer files, and e-mails; and maintain a chain of custody to ensure that the evidence has not been tampered with.
Make a list of people who can vouch for you. Your previous performance with the company and coworkers is also important.
5. Maintain Your Composure
It is easy to become enraged after hearing a false charge from someone you thought was a coworker. Take nothing personally. Keep your cool and don’t say something you will regret afterward because it could be used against you in court.
It is the employer’s responsibility to investigate the circumstances and provide a hostile-free workplace. Keep in mind that situations involving fraudulent claims are all too common in the workplace.
6. Make Your Defense Stronger
Prepare your defense by thinking of concrete methods to dispute each of your employer’s arguments. For instance, if your boss accuses you of expense account padding over a period, check over all of your mileage logs, credit card receipts, and other paperwork that indicates each transaction and the purpose for each spending.
If you have been accused of fabricating a time card, look over your day planner and give an outline of where you have been and what you were doing on those days. You can also find co-workers who can vouch for your claims.
Whether you are guilty or not, being accused of theft at work has a lot of ramifications. Of course, the most obvious effect is that you will lose your work. When an employer accuses you of stealing, your job becomes untenable, and you will almost certainly be fired or suspended while an inquiry is conducted.
The prospect of being accused of a crime you did not commit is always distressing. As you can see, however, there is assistance available for people in need. A skilled professional lawyer can provide you with expert legal guidance and ensure that you receive justice.