It appears workers are not afraid to help themselves when it comes to stealing from their employer. A survey revealed that two thirds of office-based employees freely admitted they had robbed from work, with 11 per cent confessing to nicking personal items from colleagues (1).
The reason given for stealing personal items from a colleague include jealousy (11 per cent) and in reaction to an argument (41 per cent) (1).
The survey by Kit Out My Office, which quizzed 2,106 workers, revealed the items stolen from colleagues included food and drink, pens and notebooks and toilet rolls (1).
One of the best deterrents to any type of theft in the workplace is to ensure all employees are informed and fully aware that any such incidents will be taken seriously and investigated.
A disciplinary policy will usually list theft as an act of gross misconduct, which means the employee can be dismissed immediately without notice (7).
Although the small items stolen may appear trivial, such thefts are capable of amounting to a breach of trust and gross misconduct. Although proper consideration should still be given to if the offence is serious enough to destroy the working relationship.
The correct disciplinary procedure would have to be followed; mitigating factors such as length of service and past history and all alternative sanctions should be reasonably considered (8).
If a formal sanction is issued the employee should be notified of their right to appeal (9).