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Employee Theft – Protecting More Than Property

12.15.14

Andria Ryan’s article “Employee Theft – Protecting More Than Property” was featured on Hotel Executive on December 15, 2014.

The problem of employee theft in hotels is an age-old problem. Businesses lose billions of dollars each year in employee theft. And hotels, by nature, present numerous opportunities for employee theft from guests and the house. Theft in a hotel can take many forms – from identity theft to credit card fraud to theft of merchandise and guest property. No employer hires an employee thinking that the employee is someday going to steal. Hotels need to take steps to prevent theft and be cautious in taking action against an employee after a suspected theft. Both have practice and legal implications.

In the article, Andria provides hotels with a few best practices to help limit the potential liability for claims related to employee theft situations and diminish the potential for the insult of an expensive lawsuit on top of the injury of employee theft.

Andria advises hotels to review, implement or update employee policies related to 1) package passes to control removal of property from the hotel, 2) lost and found procedures, which should be strictly enforced and 3) guest room access by employees. Consider an audit by a security expert to review your security procedures and protocols - in action.

Risks arise again when the hotel makes a decision about what to do with the employee after an investigation into theft. Andria recommends that hotels carefully consider whether police involvement makes sense. While it might act as a deterrent for other employees, it may also lead to a lawsuit by the departing employee for malicious prosecution. It is critical to have some idea as to how seriously the police will respond to allegations of employee theft. Some police departments are too overwhelmed with violent crimes to do more than write a report of the complaint. Ultimately, no police involvement is better than limited or poorly handled police involvement. If a police department is ready, willing and able to respond to reports of theft, call them when the missing item or money is discovered.

To read the full article, please visit Hotel Executive.

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