The Labour Law for Managers says theft in the workplace happens when your employee takes goods to which he has no lawful right and with the intention to keep the goods to use or sell or for any other purpose.
Essentially, he has no intention of returning the goods to you as the owner.
So what choices do you have when your employee steals from you?
You have two choices if an employee steals from you:
If you call the police and have your employee arrested, he'll remain your employee until you dismiss him.
Also keep in mind that if your employee is in jail, you can't notify him to attend a disciplinary enquiry and then hold it in his absence, as you know he won't be able to attend. It'll be procedurally unfair if you dismiss him because he's in jail.
The best thing you can do is to hold the disciplinary hearing first. If the chairperson finds him guilty and dismisses him, then contact the police. This will ensure you complete your internal processes and then decide whether to have your employee charged in a criminal case and possibly jailed.
That said; if your employee has stolen potentially harmful or dangerous items such as arms and ammunition, drugs, poisons or a very expensive item, you must notify the police at once.
Get him arrested so he's not on your company premises and then dismiss him later.
Here's a useful tip to help you deal employee theft:
Important: 'In a small business, stealing by a single employee can have a significant negative impact on both productivity and the bottom line. A thieving employee won't advertise his illegal activities, so managers must be alert to any suspicious signs and be prepared to investigate when necessary,' says Small Business Chron.
Knowing what to do when an employee steals from you will help ensure you deal with the matter effectively.