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Disciplining Theft Honesty

I was just reprimanded by my boss for theft. My so-called crime was taking home a roll of tape. I was written up and the incident was placed in my file. Why would a company make such a big deal about minor theft?

Employees can describe their actions as "minor theft," but there is nothing minor about theft in the eyes of most companies. The main reason that companies are seemingly making a federal case out of any level of employee theft is that this problem is costing millions upon millions of dollars, and it is even driving some companies out of business. If you are permitted to steal items of minor value, where do you draw the line?

Although employee theft is widespread and year-round, there typically is a bump in the fall as increased numbers of pens, pencils, binders, reams of paper, and computers slip out the back door. The reason is that children are returning to school, and their working parents mistakenly assume that school supplies are a perk at work. In addition, although valuable equipment disappears around the winter holidays, one of the most commonly stolen items is tape. Gifts need to be wrapped.

Companies are taking swift and severe action on all levels of theft because they want to send a message. Employees who walk out with company property are likely to find that they are out for good.

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