Dr. McLaughlin received this question, about Contractor Theft from Danny.
One of the contractors at our place is helping himself to quite a few things at our workplace. I caught him at it the other evening but he laughed it off.
It‘s nothing really major. It‘s mostly office equipment, such as folders and pens and pencils. He seems to be a bit of a kleptomaniac. It‘s nothing really of any great value. For instance, he‘ll take a few tea bags home with him at night.
I‘ve noticed him do it a few times. I tend to work a little late as he does, as we both come in a little late as it is flexitime here.
I ignored it in the past, as I thought it was none of my business. However, now that he knows that I know about it, it is different.
Stealing Photocopying Paper
I came into the room to see him loading a full packet of A4 photocopying paper into his sports bag.
I had to ask what he was doing as it was obvious.
He said that he needed to do some work from home using his printer.
However, he laughed in such a way that it was obvious that he wasn‘t and that he was just filching it. He could have done the work in the office.
I then told him that I‘d seen him taking folders and handfuls of pens and other stationery as well.
‘Well, I do a lot of work at home’ he laughed, as if it was some big joke.
I wish I hadn‘t stumbled onto what he was doing. Now what happens if some other stuff goes missing that‘s a bit more valuable, e.g. a PC?
If it ever came out that he was nicking stuff and I knew about it all along, and didn‘t say anything about it, then I could be in serious trouble.
The girls who do secretarial and look after the stationery are already starting to make some comments as if they thought somebody was up to something.
The last thing I want to have is everybody under suspicion because of this laughing idiot.
However, I don‘t want to be responsible for getting him sacked either, as he had been out of work for more than 6 months before he got this contract, and I know he is still getting himself out of some financial problems.
Dr. McLaughlin’s IT Surgery
This guy is a bit of an idiot, but it‘s something that happens quite often in offices. It‘s pretty stupid to steal stuff worth only a few quid, or even a few pence, when it could put your income and livelihood at stakes.
But there are plenty of people who would do it.
What I would do is simply tell him that you‘ve seen him do it before but said nothing. However, now that it is out in the open between the two of you, then you don‘t want to see it again. Say that if he continues he is taking the risk that you might report him. Say that it would be stupid to jeopardise his livelihood this way.
If he gives you the old rubbish that he needs it to use to work at home, ask him if he has permission to take it. If, as is extremely likely, he says no, then tell him that he needs to get this permission before he removes anything else as the secretaries are already suspicious.
Contractor Theft – The Message
Hopefully he will get the message.
If he doesn‘t, and continues to take the Michael, then it would be within your rights to ‘hand him over‘.
You did give him a warning after all, and he is the one who would be taking chances with his own livelihood.
I don‘t like to see contractors deprived of their livelihoods but, if he doesn‘t get the message about contractor theft, you don‘t have any other option except to watch him remove stuff from the cupboard every night.
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