In general, the law, with additional support from case laws, provides employers with certain privilege in discussing “business matters” even the dishonest kind with employees. So if an employee is seen or suspected of violating policy, stealing, or may have information pertaining to a loss, it is within our “right” to have a discussion. Such matters, handled properly and professionally are fine, but…and this is a big But…there are many opportunities along the way to step off that narrow path and create company liability.
The potential for civil or even criminal suits (like false imprisonment) are great enough to leave no room for “winging” an internal investigation. And some of the biggest missteps are those that are easiest enough to avoid.
Take a Deep Breath
Seasoned investigators don’t get emotional over internal theft. Yes, we have a passion to resolve and prevent it, but we don’t take dishonesty personally. An investigation is like any other business endeavor—it’s a process. Often, the greatest harm is done by an inexperienced manager or employee who brings emotion…hurt, anger, righteousness…to the discussion.