As much as we want to believe that people are inherently good, there are certainly instances of very bad behavior. This is true even among healthcare employees. Is theft a problem in your facility, office, or department? How do you terminate a healthcare employee for theft? Here are some tips to help you create a compliant policy.
The most important thing you can do is thoroughly investigate the instance. You don’t want to accuse someone wrongly before you have enough facts to decide. So an investigation must be carried out methodically and carefully. You should always have two people conduct the investigation, and one should not have a personal connection with the employee in question. You also need to allow the employee to tell their side of the story and be heard without objection.
Problems to Avoid
Some problems can arise when you conduct an investigation that will land you, as an employer, in very hot water. For example, you cannot use listening devices as various state and federal laws prohibit it. You also can’t trap an employee or prevent them from leaving a meeting or the workplace. And you can’t perform unauthorized searches, so don’t go through your employees’ personal belongings without consent.
The Termination Meeting
If your investigation has given you ample evidence that the individual has stolen property from the workplace, your next step is termination. But be sure that termination isn’t the first the employee has heard of the theft from you. You may want to consider a suspension while pending investigation. Sometimes, if you suspend an employee, they won’t return to the job so you can terminate for job abandonment.
Focus on Policy
There are other problems you want to avoid with theft investigations. You can’t skip steps. For example, if you don’t have the witness interviewed by the people conducting the investigation, you may miss important information. You also want to make sure you follow your own companies’ policies and maintain compliance with local and federal employment laws.
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