It’s probably safe to say that at some point or another, we have all taken something from our job. Nothing major of course. We’re not talking about full-fledged embezzlement or corporate espionage here. No, we’re talking about the items that are almost always tied to the phrase – “Who will notice it is missing?” Think along the lines of a stapler or a box of pens, maybe even a few bucks from the petty cash box located in the boss’s desk drawer. Naturally, there are those among us who wouldn’t even think about treading along that slippery slope, but many people – including your own co-workers, friends and family – are currently stealing from their employer.
But that begs the question again – “Who will notice?” After all, it’s not like anyone was using that stapler, that box of pens or that $5 in the cash box. Unfortunately, your boss, your human resources administrator or your company’s loss prevention department WILL NOTICE. And when they do, you can be charged with a crime. Depending on what you stole, how often you engaged in the behavior and the circumstances surrounding the action, you could quickly find yourself in hot water with the authorities. All of the stationary, toiletries, and small change you were squirreling away can start off as a petty theft charge, then ratchet all the way up to grand larceny.
Sadly, a potential conviction doesn’t stop most employees. In fact, there have been countless studies since the 1990s that indicate on-the-job theft is on the rise. Some consulting firms believe as much as 95% of the American labor force steals from their employee. This can equal billions of dollars in lost revenue for larger organizations and even more significant losses to smaller ones. With that said, if you’ve been caught stealing from your employer there are a few things you can do to mitigate the potential outcome. Remember: you have rights, no matter what you’ve been accused of.
Read some of the tips below and for a more thorough review of your rights and options call the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, day or night, at (714) 707-2797.
Do Not Sign a Confession
While this might sound fairly obvious, in the heat of the moment many people will sign their rights away to make their trouble disappear. Your employer’s loss-prevention department, HR office or local police may hand you a document that details the crime and says, “Sign this, return the stolen goods and we’ll forget about the whole thing.” Or you may even take this step on by yourself, writing out an “apology email” that explains the entire situation and how you regret your misdeeds.
Unfortunately, in almost ever instance this only causes MORE trouble. Once you have submitted any kind of confession, any defense you may have had is rendered almost null and void. Generally speaking, a confession will only create a bigger issue than the one you currently have. So don’t let your guilt or their pressure get the best of you at the wrong time.
Keep Quiet (As Much As Possible)
When you’ve been accused of a crime you want it to go away as quickly as possible. If this means explaining why you stole that copier, how you did it and who else was involved, you’ll do it just to make the trouble disappear. However, in almost every instance it’s in your best interest to keep quiet and contact an attorney. Your employer or the police may suggest explaining “your side of the story” will make things go easier – but that’s not the case. Do your best to keep silent on the matter – while being respectful – and contact an attorney.
If you have been accused of stealing from your employer, don’t wait to find legal representation. These accusations can quickly lead to fines and potential jail time. Call the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, day or night, at (714) 707-2797 and schedule a consultation.