If You Saw A Coworker Stealing What Would You Do – 6 Actions

Written By Aleena

Stealing at the workplace is a severe offense that can lead to termination. Thus, if you saw a coworker stealing what would you do? Here are the actions to take:

You’ll probably feel upset, angry, and violated when you catch someone stealing.

You’ll also wonder how much damage the thief has done to your company.

6 Things To Do If You Saw A Coworker Stealing

Here are the steps to handle the situation professionally:

1. Stay Calm:

The first step is to remain calm. Don’t confront the person accused of stealing in anger. This will only escalate the situation.

If You Saw A Coworker Stealing What Would You Do

Once you’ve calmed down, you can take appropriate action.

If you want to stay calm, remember this technique: take three deep breaths. And, count to 10 before you do or say anything.

Also, remember that it’s not your job to catch the thief. Your job is to report the incident to your boss or the human resources department.

2. Collect Evidence:

If you have concrete evidence that someone is stealing, document everything. This will help build a case against the thief.

Be sure to take note of the date, time, and what was stolen. If possible, take pictures or video footage of the act.

If you witness the act, jot down a description of the thief. This includes their physical appearance, what they were wearing, and any identifying characteristics.

Suppose you didn’t witness the act. But have proof that someone stole, and document where and when you found the evidence.

For example, if you found an item on someone’s desk, take note of the date and time you discovered it.

When collecting evidence, be sure to keep everything in a safe place. You don’t want the thief to know you’re on to them and steal your proof.

3. Report The Incident To Your Boss:

Once you have evidence, it’s time to report the incident to your boss or the HR department.

When you make the report, be sure to give all the details.

This includes when and where the theft occurred. And what was stolen, and who you believe is responsible.

If you have any physical evidence, be sure to hand it over.

Your boss or HR department will investigate the incident and take appropriate action.

Reporting a coworker for stealing is not easy. You may feel like you’re betraying someone you trust.

However, it’s important to remember that stealing is a serious offense.

By reporting the incident, you’re helping to create a safe and honest workplace.

If You Are The Manager Or HR Rep:

However, if you are the manager or HR representative, here’s what to do about the report:

1. Investigate:

The first step is to investigate the report. This includes talking to the accused and witnesses and gathering evidence.

theft occurred.

Be sure to ask everyone for their side of the story. It’s essential to get all the facts before taking action.

You can start the investigation by asking the accused when and where the theft occurred.

It would help if you also asked them what got stolen. Also, ask how they believe the thief got their hands on it.

If the accused has an alibi, be sure to check it out. You don’t want to blame someone for stealing if they’re innocent.

2. Decide On A Course Of Action:

Once you’ve gathered all the information, it’s time to decide on a course of action.

If you have enough evidence to prove that someone stole, you may take disciplinary action.

This could include a warningsuspension, or termination. This will depend on your company’s policies and the severity of the offense.

If the value of the item stolen is less than $50, you might start with a warning.

This is especially true if the person has been an upstanding employee in the past. And you think it was a one-time thing.

If they stole something of value, you might decide to terminate their employment.

It’s essential to consult with your company’s policies before taking action. You don’t want to punish someone unfairly.

If you don’t have enough evidence, you may decide to do more investigating or let the matter go.

3. Take Action:

Once you’ve decided on a course of action, it’s time to take action.

If you’re going to issue a warning, be sure to do it in writing. This way, there’s documentation of the incident.

If you decide to suspend or terminate an employee, follow your company’s procedures. 

This includes documenting the incident and giving the employee their final paycheck.

Dealing with theft in the workplace is never easy. But by taking quick and decisive action, you can create a safe and honest environment.

Warning Signs Of Employee Theft

If someone got stolen from the office, it’s important to look for signs of employee theft.

Some warning signs may indicate that an employee is the one who stole.

Here are some warning signs to watch out for:

1. Sudden Lavish Lifestyle:

The employee is suddenly living beyond their means.

If You Saw A Coworker Stealing What Would You Do

This could include buying new clothes or jewelry. Or taking lavish vacations or driving a new car.

This happens when the employee uses the company’s money to fund their lifestyle.

Such employees are often in debt and are looking for ways to make more money.

2. Frequent Absences:

The employee is frequently absent from work.

They may take more sick days than usual or call in sick when they’re not ill.

The situation might be that the employee is stealing from the company and doesn’t want to be caught.

3. Unexplained Changes In Financial Situation:

If they’ve a sudden change in financial situation, it could signify they’re stealing.

For example, if they suddenly got a huge amount in their bank accounts. Or they no longer need to take loans from the bank.

You should be suspicious if the employee’s financial situation changes without explanation.

4. Secretive Or Suspicious Behavior:

The employee is secretive or has suspicious behavior.

They may be reluctant to talk about their personal life or what they did over the weekend.

They may also try to avoid eye contact or keep to themselves. Such behavior may indicate that the employee is hiding something.

5. Criminal Record:

If an employee has a criminal record, it’s more likely that they will steal from the company.

You should check an employee’s criminal record before hiring them.

This will help you avoid hiring someone likely to steal from the company.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean they will steal from the company, it’s something to be aware of.

6. Changes In Work Habits:

If the employee’s work habits change, it could signify that they’re stealing.

For example:

If they suddenly start working late or coming in early. It could be because they’re trying to cover up their theft.

Or if they start taking more extended lunches or more breaks. It could be because they’re trying to spend more time away from the office.

7. Overly Defensive:

The employee is overly defensive. If you ask them about their behavior, they may become defensive and try to justify their actions.

overly defensive

Or they may get angry and lash out at you. Such behavior may indicate that the employee is guilty of something.

8. Poor Work Performance:

If the employee’s work performance starts to decline, it could signify they’re stealing.

They may start making more mistakes or taking longer to complete tasks.

Or they may begin to slack off and not do their work.

Such behavior may signify that the employee has to do something else.

9. Access To Sensitive Information:

The employee has access to sensitive information. If an employee has access to sensitive information, it’s more likely that they will misuse it.

For example, if they have access to customer credit card information. They may want to use it for their gain.

Or if they have access to confidential company information. They may try to sell it to the highest bidder.

10. Hiding Assets:

The employee is hiding assets. If an employee is hiding assets, it’s a sign that they’re trying to avoid paying taxes on them.

They may also be hiding assets to keep them away from creditors. 

Hiding assets is a severe offense, and you should report it to the authorities. 

These are some warning signs that may indicate that an employee is stealing from the company.

So here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to employee theft. If you notice any of these warning signs, investigate further.

Why Should You Immediately Take Action If You Saw A Coworker Stealing?

If you see a coworker stealing, it’s essential to take immediate action. Here’s why:

1. Financial Impact On Company:

Employee theft can have a severe financial impact on the company.

And the financial impact can be even more significant. That is when the employee is stealing from customers.

So it’s essential to take action as soon as possible to minimize the financial damage.

2. Lost Of Trust:

Employee theft can also lead to a loss of trust. It can damage the company’s image immediately.

company's image

If customers find out that an employee has stolen from them, they may lose trust in the company.

And if employees find out that another employee has stolen from the company, they may also lose trust in the company.

It can lead to many problems for the business.

3. Legal Implications:

There may also be legal implications if you don’t take action.

For example:

If an employee steals customer credit card information, they may be violating the law.

And if an employee is selling confidential company information, they may also be violating the law.

Thus, it can lead to legal implications for the company.

4. Lead To Other Crimes:

Employee theft can also lead to other crimes.

For example, if an employee is stealing company money, they may also be embezzling funds.

And if an employee is stealing customer credit card information, they may also be committing fraud.

Also, if one employee steals and no one takes action against them, others can. Thus, employee theft can create a culture of stealing within the company.

So it’s vital to take action to prevent other crimes from happening.


Employee theft is a severe problem. It can have many negative consequences for the company.

If you see a coworker stealing, it’s essential to take immediate action to minimize the damage.

Last Updated on 1 month by Shahzaib Arshad


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