Consensus HR

Your outsourced HR department.

Personal Use of Workplace Items = Theft.

Published in Employment Law, General

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Personal Use of Workplace Items = Theft.  One in three employees take work items home for their own personal use. Such goodies include stationery, toilet rolls and even soap. But are they putting their jobs on the line by doing so? Yes.

Putting it bluntly, helping yourself to items from work is theft. The reasons behind it are irrelevant.  Ultimately, it is an act of Gross Misconduct and can result in dismissal.ID-10050051

Consensus HR has taken numerous telephone calls about situations where somebody has been caught with objects belonging to a company. These range from paper and pens to toilet rolls, (surprisingly common!).

“It’s important that employees understand that all of these objects are company property. They are for use when working in the premises and not for use at home,” explains Matthew from Consensus HR. “Taking them away from the company’s premises is theft; exactly the same if you were to remove an item from a shop without paying for it.” Items can be seemingly inexpensive yet the cost involved increases quickly if several employees are involved.

Of those surveyed, 28% admitted that they took the items because they didn’t have time to go shopping. But: theft is theft. It is seen as an act of Gross Misconduct, which can result in a ‘summary dismissal’.

Matthew adds “Theft is viewed on the same level as fraud, violence or incapacity from drugs or alcohol. It is a reasonable means for Gross Misconduct as long as the employer has acted reasonably and followed the ACAS Code of Practice & the Statutory Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures.”

Do you have an issue of theft within your workplace? “Clear communication and understanding must be present within the company culture,” suggests Matthew. “Businesses do not have to tolerate theft. Appropriate and reasonable measures should be introduced to protect the company as well as its employees.”

Are you concerned about a theft issue within your company? Are you keen to prevent such circumstances? Contact Consensus HR for an informal discussion. Let’s work together to avoid the awkward and potentially expensive situation of theft in your workplace.