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WWYDW Yannick edition: when you know a co-worker is stealing, what do you do???

I thought I’d get Yannick involved on a What Would You Do Wednesday.  I mean he’s on hiatus, it’s still a quiet time of year, no auditions yet post holidays, plus it gives me an opportunity to post something from a male perspective, so why not pick his brain.  So today, I brought him up to speed as to just what my Wednesday posts are all about, since I know he doesn’t read my blog, insert eye roll here, ask me if I’ll ever watch another thing that he does.  Once I got him up to speed on the premise I then asked him, if he there was a situation he wouldn’t like to find himself in, what would it be.  He came up with this WWYDW.

You have definitive proof that a co-worker is stealing from the company you work for.  What do you do?

Do you:

a) since you’re on friendly terms with the co-worker confront them, have a conversation, and suggest that they “do the right thing” which is to confess to a superior so that nobody else will take the fall for the thefts.  Give them a deadline to do this, and if they don’t do it by the date you then carry on to…

b) go to the superior directly and let them know what you’ve uncovered.

c) since what they’re doing is illegal, you go outside the company and let the proper authorities know about the theft.

d) do nothing, let the universe, karma, what have you, get to them in their own good time.

Now, we wait.  Wait to hear what you all would do if you found yourself in the position of knowing that somebody you work with is stealing from your employee.  Yannick and I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and finding out how you would handle this.

And, oh, because some people cannot seem to separate me from YB, or me from Murdoch, I must add this DISCLAIMER:  THIS IS NOT BASED ON ANYTHING HAPPENING ON MURDOCH, NOBODY IS STEALING, NOR HAVE THEY EVER STOLEN FROM MM.  THIS IS STRICTLY FROM YANNICK’S IMAGINATION.

10 Comments

  1. Glad you got YB’s input. I often get my hubby’s perspective on things. He is a police officer for the city of Dallas (Texas)….so, I know B would be my answer. “Bad things happen when good people do nothing”; therefore, I couldn’t let karma take its time on happening. Friend or no friend, your superiors/chain of command HAVE to be told.

    Enjoy your blog and YB’s Instastories (especially the latest car karaoke takes and your daughter at the King’s game. 🤣)! Keep up the great work, both of you! And, you both have fans from Texas! #Murdochfanintexas

  2. Long time reader, first time commenter. I’ve knowingly seen a co-worker steal (a good 9 years ago). I didn’t say or do anything as I was friends with them at the time. But they got caught two months later and were sacked. They didn’t steal anything epic, just batteries here and there. I know I say “just batteries” but compared with some of the stuff my work sold (I worked in a camping shop) which were worth well over $2,500 I thought it wasn’t a lot. I did feel like I should say something and I had a crisis of conscience but I thought about how much the mark up was (a good 150-200%) and considering my shop sold a bunch of car fridges and barebques I thought what’s a couple of bucks and didn’t say anything.
    I didnt end up saying anything. I’m
    More of a karma will get them type of person and in the end that is what happened. That was 9 years ago. Now, I will say something because it’s the right thing to do but I haven’t seen anyone steal anything in my current place of employment, somewhere where I have been for 4 years

  3. I think it would depend on the vaue and how well I knew the co-worker. If a Friend and some office supplies I would go with d) except to confront the friend If it were substantial like equipment, friend or not, I would go with b. Reporting to my supervisor to take to the thief’s supervisor
    Also laughed at your disclaimer but I guess it had to be put out there since I guess there would be someone thinking that. We Are a wide range of personalities out here 😄😳😎😜

  4. Like, Kristi, I laughed at your disclaimer … and then sighed that you’d have to make it. But better safe than sorry!

    Kate’s answer was very well thought out. I’d like to think I’d go right to B, but in my heart I know I’d start at A, and I wouldn’t even have to be “friendly” with the culprit. I just think it’s the thing to do. But I would definitely keep my eye on them so that I would be prepared when it’s time to go to B. As Kate mentioned about the union scenario, it’s equally tricky depending on whether or not it’s a small or large business. But overall, I’d like to think I’d go with A to give them a chance to redeem themselves first.

  5. Knowing how often companies like to cover up such situations I think I would go to the authorities to handle it.

  6. This scenario has a lot of variables – the value of the theft, the relative positions of the thief and yourself in the company hierarchy, etc. I’ve been a low level employee and a boss, I’ve been union and I’ve been management. If you’re in a union and you rat, you’re persona non grata pretty quickly. And a lot of people justify petty theft because they didn’t get that day off, or someone else got a raise, or the health benefits stink. So, if it were a low level employee stealing small amounts of office supplies infrequently, unless they were making off with reams of copy paper, I’d probably let it pass. Everyone, including me, has done it either intentionally or not. If I were the department head and I caught someone repeatedly and deliberately stealing, I’d tell them to cut it out and watch them thereafter. If it were management embezzling, I’d gather my evidence and report to a senior manager with a reputation for integrity. I would only involve the police directly if it were at a very high level and a significant theft. There’s also theft of time. A friend left his law firm because the senior attorneys were getting paid megabucks but making the younger lawyers do all the work. His only recourse was to leave and find a better firm. Every job I’ve every had had many people who really don’t do a full day’s work, never have, never will.

    So it’s very circumstantial. No one answer. You have to balance the cost of your actions against the consequences in terms of impact on your work relationships, the cost to your conscience, etc. All your scenarios boil down to the slippery slope of when and how to intervene for the best result for all concerned. Tricky.

  7. I had to laugh at your disclaimer but it is also sad that you had to put it there.

    Never been in this situation thankfully. I would hope I would do choice A. It is hard to say though until I am in that situation.

  8. First off: hullo mr. B, welcome to the blog!

    Right, for me this one is a no-brainer. Regardless of how well I know the colleague, or how good friends we are, I go to my/our superior ASAP. The thing that people forget is, that when you steal from the company you’re working for, you’re stealing from yourself. If, say, your Christmas bonus is tied to how well the company is doing, you are stealing from your co-workers just as much as from the company. And should an audit show discrepancies in a certain department, everyone in that department will be under suspicion until the culprit is found, making for an infected work-climate.

    I’ve seen it happen in supermarket I once worked in, where we had a bakery that opened a couple of hours before the rest. Because they sold some milk, juice, cheese, and other breakfast essentials, the workers had a route they were allowed to take through the main store to collect supplies (so as not to set off the alarm). Apparently the boss had become suspicious of one of them, and he came in very early one morning, and met her in the trade-elevator with a cart full of wine, expensive meatcuts, etc. Needless to say she was dismissed, the police were involved, and she later admitted to systematic thefts over a six-month period…

  9. A different idea would be to see if there is a written policy about this type of stealing. Many office employees think even taking a pencil or pen is okay, more like borrowing as there are plenty more in the supply room. But it’s not borrowing. So, if there is a staff meeting and no policy, then suggest a policy be introduced. This way there is no confronting or stress in deciding what to do. The staff are involved in thinking about this with a discussion of the serious nature of taking office supplies. This may stop the offender from ever doing it again. All done with no need to confront or speak to a supervisor or going to an outside authority – which is over the top in bothering the local police.

  10. The way I see it, doing a or b could easily backfire on you. Give a dishonest person time and they will see that someone else gets accused of whatever they are doing wrong. Going to a superior directly could also result in you being accused of jealousy or some other wrongdoing. If you do nothing you will carry guilt that may or may not result in a backlash in the future so the only possible thing to do is c. Present your proof to someone in a position to deal with it and leave it to them.

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