The Statement- Employee Theft Investigation
After having investigated and validated an employee theft situation in your store, you will interview the employee to determine the rest of the facts, in addition to getting an admission of guilt straight from your employee. This admission is the final step in completing your employee theft investigation, it is also a very critical point in how you have handled the investigation and treated your employee thus far.
Regardless of the evidence you have found substantiating an employee’s role in theft and losses, having an admission of guilt directly from the employee plays a very important role in the after effects of the investigation. An employee who understands that there is concrete evidence as well as a signed admission of guilt will be less likely to pose a wrongful termination suit against their employer. The ones who do decide to pursue litigation will have a much harder time proving their case when faced with the overwhelming amount of concrete evidence against them.
This, of course, means that when you have the employee write their admission- the statement- that they need to do so willingly and without coercion or promise. You may not promise to forgo criminal prosecution, or allude to their retaining their employment in exchange for writing an admission. They cannot under any circumstances be forced, threatened, or eluded to possible consequences if they do not write out an admission of guilt. Statements gained in these fashions will be contested and ultimately thrown out of a court proceeding. If you have criminal charges brought against this employee, and it is determined that the admission was coerced, the integrity of the rest of your evidence can be called into question, and you may potentially lose your case against them.
Now, when you present the employee with the need to write out an admission of guilt, you do not have to call it an admission statement. What many professional investigators are calling these statements is a letter of explanation. By rewording what this document is called, the employee is more at ease, as they will feel like it is a less formal document. This makes the employee more willing to be helpful and write their deeds down on paper.
To start the process, have the employee go back over the notes that you have taken during the interview. Let them know that this is their opportunity to make sure their side of the story is heard and that you want these points to be accurate. Go through line by line with their thefts and have the employee initial and date beside each one. If they backtrack and start to tell you that the points are not accurate, give them the opportunity to make corrections. If they are sliding back on their guilt, you need to go back into interviewing the employee to determine their guilt. Hold off on their statement writing until you have reestablished their guilt in the thefts.
Now that you are back to the statement, let them start to write the date, and their name. This gets them into a writing mode. From there have them put down specific dates, incidents, methods of their theft, and what items they took. Have them be as detailed as possible with SKU, color, size, cash amounts, etc. They should also provide explanations of what they did with the cash or merchandise and why they did what they did. The more information they volunteer, the more irrefutable the admission will be later. Conclude the statement with the employee writing how they were treated during the process (fairly, respectfully, etc) and that they were not promised or threatened in any way. The last this is to have the employee sign and date each page. If any corrections were made, have them sign and date those items as well.
For more information on employee theft, employee theft investigation or internal theft contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 – Atlanta Georgia
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