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Query: If Employee steals from your Company and is caught, do you publicize it?

Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
purely hypothetical situation. *cough*

Mrs. Smith, a former employee of Company, stole $200k from Company and Company's clients through a methodical fraud carried out over 2 years. Company caught Mrs. Smith and she was arrested. Company tightened controls to ensure this would never happen again and paid back all the clients who were defrauded, most of which was covered by Company's crime insurance policy.

Mrs. Smith plead guilty at trial, asking for leniency because she has a gambling addiction and two young kids. She cannot pay back any of the money because she blew it all on slots and now cannot get a decent job because of her criminal record. The judge will likely sentence her to 1 - 2 years in jail.

For those of you in PR, HR or whatever other related field, is it in the best interests of Company to publicize the result of this matter, say, through a small blurb in Company's next newsletter, or is it best to not do anything to publicize it? On one hand, spreading the news may serve as a deterrent for other employees who may be thinking of trying the same thing. On the other hand, this kind of news would be a downer on Company morale.

Does anyone have any insight into this kind of thing? I have tried googling for articles on this topic, but have not found anything useful.
 

erika

TRIBE Member
Hmm, tough situation.

Do you typically publicize the reason for firing anyone? I would imagine not.

In this instance, if you do want to get the word out as a deterrent, you might want to call your mgt team together, let them know, and let them inform their own teams directly and so on.

Like that there is someone there to give the news AND answer questions, and you might avoid some of the mad gossip that might ensue.
 

The Watcher

TRIBE Member
Small press release with facts of the situation and guilty plea. But beyond that it's not supposed to be a news story, just the truth of the matter and the actions taken to prevent it from going on again would be in the best interest of an honest company. It shouldn't be about defaming the guilty, just presenting the situation and remedy.
 

Sal De Ban

TRIBE Member
is there a "comings and goings" section of the newsletter? lol just kidding. it might be wise to send some sort of an email letting staff know about the investigation, that it is in the hands of the courts, to let the lawyers handle this, and not to speak / gossip / spread rumours about it. it depends on your company's culture, really.
 

zoo

TRIBE Member
I think the tactful thing to do would be to not publicize it. At our organization, we do not make public examples of these types of situations, but would likely be inspired by the incident to create a hypothetical example to include in a mandatory annual ethics test for our entire organization. This way everyone hears the hypothetical story and is reminded of the consequences, morale isn't negatively affected, and embarrassment is minimized.
 
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Big Harv

TRIBE Member
absolutely not. it's not a good news story and there are other ways to promote prevention and deterence from theft that don't involve showing mrs. smith as an example. (and what zoo said).
 

Big Harv

TRIBE Member
to clarify, if Company publicized it, there would be no real names used.
my view is that you don't publicize externally or internally that with or without the former employee's name as it is not a good news story even though she was caught and client funds returned; let your security/forensic accountants/hr team take care of these isolated cases

have a few prepared answers ready in case employees ask about the incident, but it should be business as usual (you don't want to create a culture of shame and intimidation).
 
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Sal De Ban

TRIBE Member
I think the tactful thing to do would be to not publicize it. At our organization, we do not make public examples of these types of situations, but would likely be inspired by the incident to create a hypothetical example to include in a mandatory annual ethics test for our entire organization. This way everyone hears the hypothetical story and is reminded of the consequences, morale isn't negatively affected, and embarrassment is minimized.
this could backfire quite easily.
 

kyfe

TRIBE Member
my view is that you don't publicize externally or internally that with or without the former employee's name as it is not a good news story even though she was caught and client funds returned; let your security/forensic accountants/hr team take care of these isolated cases

have a few prepared answers ready in case employees ask about the incident, but it should be business as usual (you don't want to create a culture of shame and intimidation).
There really is no need to as it is a matter of public record anyway.
 

agentRC4

TRIBE Member
my old company did this all the time. Never used names but just the general situations. More of a "we are working to protect you and the company tag line" to the employees and their clients. Turn it into a good for the company type story.
 

Dirty Girl

TRIBE Member
I wouldnt think so. The fact that she has a criminal record now that she has to disclose shud be enough. but then again all those big wigg scamers get exposed so....
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
As I understand it, you feel it is important for the employees to know as a deterrent. The employees probably already know about Gambling Mom because most employees live to gossip about such stuff, but if they don't, casually leak the story to them. I wouldn't tell clients for the same reason banks never release information about all the fraud they experience - it diminishes their credibility.
 
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oddmyth

TRIBE Member
Think of the situation in terms of the company itself.

Is it good for the company to be seen as having employed someone who frauded the company?

For the reputation of the company, the answer is unequivocally no.

The best course of action would be subtle, start a sweep of all employees and make sure fraud isn't rampant. If further fraud is found, deal with it quietly.

Employees are smart and they will put two and two together about what's happening internally. You may rattle some cages and flush out some things that weren't apparent at first glance. The key being to make sure you have your monitoring in-place before anyone can discern your intent.

If you were to publicly crucify a person (even un-named) the chances of flushing further active fraud would decrease.

I believe the only public angle should be a consistent message that is repeated in intervals. Random messages are usually an indicator that something is happening or something did happen, both of which will raise questions, a consistent message repeated in intervals will seem like boilerplate. Boilerplate text may seem like a bad idea, but if something does go awry the accused can't claim ignorance if the message has been consistently brought to them.

If you want to ensure your message is being heard add another clause to employee contracts and draw their attention to it at renewal. I've found that people generally accept these as updated company policy, but it does ensure that they see it and are aware of policy and consequence. If you want to make doubly sure, make them initial for acceptance of the new policy.
 
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bombthreat23

TRIBE Member
Absolutely say something. My experience with clients has been to admit your mistakes, tell them what you have done to correct it and what you have done to make sure it doesn't happen, then apologize. Short term pain for long term gain. Nothing worse than if it does get out sometime and the client thinks you were hiding something from them.
 

chooch

TRIBE Member
I've worked at two firms that got embezzled and neither of them advertised their lack of internal controls and stupidity. As a member of staff we got the dish, but there is no way they would want anyone outside the company know about it.

In one case it was in excess of 1 million dollars and talk about a pie in the face for them to admit they didn't see it happening.

edit: I don't even think either place pressed charges as that would be a form of public record. So yea, I think there was an insistence that they pay the cash back, but that the proviso was there would be no public kerfuffle.
 
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Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
thanks, all, for the useful guidance. the hypothetical Company's director of communications made the decision yesterday to not publicize the arrest, although natural gossip around that division's office has spread the news.

in this hypothetical situation, a hypothetical private equity firm purchased the Company, and then implemented new financial controls which resulted in Mrs. Smith being caught. i was wondering whether, if news of Mrs. Smith going to jail got spread throughout other sister entities to the Company owned by the same private equity firm (where the gossip would not normally flow), there might be a beneficial deterrent message.

i am now convinced that more harm than good is done by publicizing this sort of thing.

thanks, all!
 

blueshrike

TRIBE Member
FWIW if the death penalty and/or three strikes laws don't deter people, then I can't see how anonymous publication of this would have any effect. Like maybe honest people would steal less pens.
 

waxtrax

New Member
From what I've seen this might be published in an HR periodical but never directly to the general working population, it would be a morale killer and efficiency pooper.
 

KodiaK

TRIBE Member
It happened to a former company i worked for.

It was a big story a month ago... maybe you heard about a little robbery at an armored car company recently..

TTC Robbery Sees Bandits Snatch Big Money From Contractor

when this happened my cell phone erupted with txt messages from former co workers. I quit the company when we tried to unionize. I use to be responsible for the TTC delivery (After the general ttc crew picked up the safe money from all the stops during the day) to the banks at night.

When this story hit a short while ago. I seriously fucking thought the cops were going to call me. Because i got in shit with toronto police on the job for un holstering my gun at someone once while doing the job. Nothing came out of that due to a) i was in the right to do so. And that was that.

but anyways.....

the 3 retards that were busted in this story were PURE fucking idiots. First of all.... you had 800k in TTC money. B) you fucking retards buy a brand new BMW M5 in CASH?!?!?!?! AND DRIVE IT TO WORK, YOU KNOW, THE PLACE YOU JUST FUCKING ROBBED?!

lol wow.

yea... i can go into more detail about this for you tribers.


Shit, and here i thought i was cheeky for buying weed while working. At work, i was kinda known as the "guy that has the shit" Because i got blitzed with another guy at a company picnic. I put the kaibosh on that stupidly quick for the obvious reasons. ;)

trust me, i've got more details to what everyone has read in the news a month ago over this ;)
 
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