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What Are My Legal Options If An Employee Stole Money From Me?

Occasionally, employers must deal with the experience of an employee stealing money or property from the business.

Not only is it upsetting that your employee stole from you, but you are also responsible for deciding whether to report the theft to authorities, that you get as much of the money back as you can, and that you review your business operations to prevent future employee thefts from happening.

In this article we cover what legal action you can take if you suspect that your employee stole from your business.

Can I Make My Employee Take A Lie Detector Test?

If you are a private employer without substantial proof that a particular employee is the thief, but you reasonably suspect that you have identified the culprit, you may have the right to subject your employee to a polygraph test in certain circumstances under federal law.

The test may be warranted if:

The polygraph test is administered in connection with an investigation related to the theft or embezzlement suffered by your business,

The employee had access to the money that is subject to the investigation,

You have reasonable suspicion that the employee stole the money, and

You draft and sign a statement before the test is conducted that states your reasons for requesting your employee to take the test, among other statements.

Because employees are generally protected from being forced to take lie detector tests, you should consult with an experienced Raleigh Business Attorney to make sure that you would qualify for the exemption under the law.

Report The Theft To The Authorities

When you have proof that your employee in fact stole money, you can report the employee to the authorities.

Depending on what type of business you are in, you may have to report the theft to multiple agencies.

Of course, reporting your employee to the police is an important first step to resolving the theft issue. Taking this step should not be taken lightly, if the charges are filed and the employee if found not-guilty, the person or entity filing the charge may be subject to suit for malicious prosecution.

In the case of stolen money, the employee may be charged with

a. embezzlement

– If the employee was entrusted with the funds which were stolen as part of his or her job) or

b. larceny by an employee

– If the employee did not have a right to be in possession of the money that was stolen as part of his or her job).

If your business is monitored by a regulatory agency, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, you may have a duty to report your employee’s theft to the appropriate regulatory agency as well.

Can I Withhold Pay From the Employee?

Employers cannot withhold employee pay unless there is a specific clause in their employment agreement with the employee that says that this can be done.

Instead, you will have to seek recovery for the money that was stolen through a civil action against your employee.

The criminal action might also address your lost money by requiring the employee to pay restitution to you as part of their punishment for stealing the funds in the first place.

Can I Fire My Employee If They Stole From Me?

It’s natural to want to let go of an employee who you suspect stole from you. Because of laws established by Employment at Will , you have a legal right to fire any employee for cause, or for no cause. In this instance it would be considered a for cause scenario.

Contact An Experienced North Raleigh Business Attorney

If you had an employee steal money from you, contact Robert Morton an experienced North Raleigh Business Attorney as soon as possible.
North Raleigh Law is located in Raleigh, North Carolina, and serves clients throughout the Triangle Area in Wake County, Durham County, Orange County, Chatham County, Vance County and Franklin County, including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Zebulon, Wake Forest, Fuquay, Cary, Clayton, Henderson, Oxford, Pittsboro, Apex and Holly Springs.

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