What do I do if I find out an employee has a hand in the till?

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Question:

I am a small business owner and have proof that one of my employees has been voiding sales and pocketing the cash for the last six months, taking a total of over $3,000 in the last month alone. What are my rights in this situation?

Answer:

It is a crime to put one's hand into the company till and filch company dollars from said till. You are entitled to fire the filcher on the spot.

However, you might want to start by rounding up the incriminating evidence and presenting it to the suspected thief in a confidential meeting. Surprisingly, this usually causes the guilty person to fall immediately on his or her sword. Give the suspect a chance to explain the monetary discrepancies, but take no bull.

It may be plausible to work out an arrangement to pay back the proceeds, either in a lump sum or in payments. Get any agreement in writing -- and make sure it spells out consequences for defaulting.

If you feel it would be futile or foolhardy to enter into a repayment agreement with the former employee, turn the matter over to both the local district attorney and the local police. The two of them may point fingers at one another as to who pursues the crime. Prepare for this possibility -- and be dogged in urging action from the authority that seems most apt to act.

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