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This might entail many things, such as clocking another employee’s clock card, misuse of company records or documents, forging signatures on a cheque or other document, falsifying medical certificates by changing dates, and things of that nature.

What to look for?

Take possession of the forged or fraudulent document and lock it away in a safe place. If it involves goods that were to be sold, take possession of those goods, and lock them away in a safe place.

Make sure that you are the only person who has access to the place where the documents or goods are locked up. If necessary, change the locks so that you are the only person in possession of the keys.

You may need to consult an expert opinion such as a handwriting expert.

Establish the value of the fraud or forgery – or the extent of the loss or potential loss to the company. Determine the position held in the company by the accused employee with regard to seniority.

Establish whether or not they had permission to forge the documents – for example, did their seniority in the company authorise them to clock somebody else’s card? Or perhaps to alter the information on a certain document?

Establish whether they intended to do what they did. Establish the extent of any financial or other gain or profit to the offender that would have resulted from their action.

What must the investigator prove at the disciplinary enquiry?

Prove that there was a deliberate action or intent – it is essential to show that there was an unlawful misrepresentation of the facts, that there was an actual or potential loss, and that it was the intention of the perpetrator to defraud the employer of money or goods that the perpetrator was not lawfully entitled to.

In the case of theft, be ready to counter arguments such as “I only intended to borrow it and return it later.” You must prove that they had the intention to permanently deprive the employer of ownership, alternatively charge for unauthorised possession.

Prove that the element of trust in the employment relationship has broken down. Produce evidence from the employee’s previous disciplinary record if any.


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