employee dishonesty

Outside Employment

unnamedKelly is glad to be back at work after a couple of weeks of family togetherness at the holidays. A few more days of vacation and she’d be ready to disown her parents and her in-laws, write the kids out of the will and talk to a divorce lawyer about her husband’s fate. It’s good to be back in the office where her job as HR Director suddenly seems simple.

Of course, that happy mood wears off before her first cup of coffee is finished. She’s still sorting through her email in-box when the company president barges into her office. He’s called a meeting to discuss a problem employee.

Kelly refills her coffee mug, sighs, and trudges to the president’s corner office to join the chief information officer and the CFO. The CIO explains that a misdirected phone call to her key lieutenant uncovered proof that Dan is running a side business. Dan is an IT department employee.

The misdirected phone call is from an individual who says he outsourced his company’s IT department to Dan. A quick investigation reveals that Dan has a personal IT business complete with a website advertising the same services he does for his employer. Dan has helpfully listed his company-issued cell phone number as the contact number for his side business.

The company president wants to fire Dan immediately, preferably by firing squad in the parking lot. The CIO and CFO also want to fire Dan but are worried about delicate negotiations on an IT contract. Dan has a small, but critical part to play in those negotiations. If Dan is fired he might take revenge by trying to screw up those negotiations. The management team looks at Kelly for her recommendation.

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What’s best for the team?

What should Kelly recommend to the management team?

  1. She can agree with the company president that Dan should be fired immediately, but without the firing squad since that would create a mess in the parking lot, not to mention violating company employment policies.
  2. She can ask the CIO if there is a replacement for Dan so that he can be placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the negotiations.
  3. She can suggest that they proceed as usual, keeping the matter confidential until after the IT contract negotiations conclude and then fire Dan.

In the actual situation, the company decided to go with the third option because there was no replacement option. Immediately after the IT contract negotiations ended, the employee was fired with a note that he would never be eligible for rehire.

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An Inside Job.

image023Pete owns a small plumbing contractor’s business. He has a lot of equipment, such as backhoes and tools, and a truck to pull the trailer that hauls his equipment to a job site. He also has giant rolls of copper tubing which require a tow motor to move around the shop.

Years ago Pete invested in a security fence topped with razor wire which took care of casual thieves who prefer the after-hours self-service plan for furnishing their home or business. Last year he installed security cameras inside and outside his warehouse after a neighboring business was robbed. He also has a security alarm system for the building.

Today when Pete arrived, he found the front gates wide open. The warehouse door had a giant hole where the thieves used an acetylene torch to cut a hole so that they could abscond with the copper tubing.

Pete knows that one or more of his employees must be involved because the theft has all the hallmarks of an inside job. The security alarm wasn’t triggered and the cameras were turned off. The thieves took only the copper tubing which is readily convertible into cash and hard to trace.

What could Pete have done to avoid this employee theft?

  1. The sad truth is that Pete did everything he could to avoid becoming a victim of employee theft, including installing cameras and an alarm system.
  2. Pete could begin doing background checks on employees in hopes of weeding out potential future problems.
  3. Pete could protect his business from the losses caused by employee theft through insurance coverage, such as a fidelity bond or employee (dis)honesty coverage.

Pete has just discovered the most common of the five motivations for employee dishonesty, which is greed. Greedy employees are inherently dishonest and generally have no remorse for their actions, unless it’s regret at getting caught.

Need help with HR issues? Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff when the policies are implemented.

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