Overview: Dealing with property theft is part of a good risk management plan. Even small, seemingly harmless theft of property can become significant financial loss over time and across the entire employee population. So, while taking small office supplies, such as post-its, once in a while might not seem like a big deal to an employee, it becomes one when multiplied by the life of an individual's employment and the number of employees performing the action. Add this to bigger, more deliberate thefts of which employers often find themselves victim and it is easy to see the necessity of guarding against all property theft within the workplace.
One of the first things that an employer should do is to create a clear policy defining theft in your workplace and the punishment for it. Clearly communicating this can be a deterrent in and of itself. There are many other physical and work securities that employers can implement to make stealing harder, such as giving limited access to commonly stolen items and creating checks and balances systems. One simple way to avoid theft is to make employees feel valued and appreciated because employees that feel this way are less likely to steal from the workplace.
When it comes to guarding against property theft, it is important to comply with a number of laws. For example, before setting up a video surveillance system, it is important to know any state privacy laws that could affect having such a system.
Trends: Unfortunately, drug addiction is always a trend. At pharmaceutical companies and other similar businesses, theft of pharmaceuticals may be a major problem because workers want the drugs. The Controlled Substance Act has many required security measures that employers who have these drugs must follow.
Author: Ashley Shaw, JD, Legal Editor
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The results of a study by Tatiana Sandino, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, and Clara Xiaoling Chen, assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, suggest that employers may be able to reduce their employee-theft rate by increasing their employees' wages. In the paper titled Can Wages Buy Honesty? The Relationship between Relative Wages and Employee Theft, it is concluded that nearly 40 percent of an employer's cost of paying higher wages can be recovered by a decrease in employee theft.
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