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Employee using equipment for themselves - theft? Fraud?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by edgeair, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    I think I'm in the right section here - hopefully.

    Thanks to our investment in GPS trackers over the past couple of years, I have discovered a recent hire (and to a lesser extent a season long employee) doing driveways and a small parking lot while on company time, for others when they are already behind on their regular route. In one case the one guy had to leave early for an appointment, did a small parking lot for himself, but didn't get his route done that he was supposed to do. Guess his side skimming job was priority. I have had minor problems with this in the past, but this time its fairly major, like 7-8 driveways plus a small parking lot each time. Last time he also (after doing his own large driveway) spent an hour on the clock at his house with the ignition off. Breaks are unpaid time. When asked why he was taking longer than normal to do that part of his route (I already knew why), he replied that he had to make a quick stop at timmies (Tim Hortons for you non Canadian types). My GPS system is set up to show exactly when the PTO turns on and off, and I went around and took photographs of the completed jobs (they were on streets that we do not normally service).

    Due to the volume, I decided to inquire with the local Police department to see if the activities amounted to theft or fraud (really whats the difference between this and handing something over the counter at a retail outlet, its still has value). At the minimum I figure its some form of fraud or embezzlement. They are using my $100k rig to do driveways for their buddies (or selling their services, not sure) while on my clock. This guy is a local business owner which to me makes his activities even worse. He had the nerve to even suggest we should do further business and sponsorships together.

    Tonight the officer says after a week of waiting for an answer, that its not something that they wish to pursue (bascially they still don't know how to classify it) with the crown prosecutor.

    Have any of you guys run into this kind of thing before (where you've caught them in the act)? Especially those in Canada. I know this happens all the time in this business, but the boldness of this particular case is what has caused me to act.

    I'd be interested to know if any of you were able to do more than just fire the guy. Were you successful in recovering costs, or having them charged with an offence?
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  2. shawn_

    shawn_ Member
    Messages: 71

    I would assume the worst thing that you can do is fire them. You could dock their pay accordingly if you wanted but the easiet situation would be fire.
  3. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    Yes, for sure its a given that they are done. Just looking for ideas otherwise.
  4. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    call a lawyer.
    fire hem then take then to court, for theft.
    jmo or fire them and move on.
  5. sota

    sota Senior Member
    Messages: 180

    As a divorce attorney once advised me, get out of the arrangement as quickly as you can so you can move on. Hand them their pay and tell them never to darken your door again. You could try and dock them for the usage of equipment but how would you quantify it and do you want the potential for them to come after you (legally) for it?

    Now as an additional measure, you could visit the sites they were using your equipment to service and see if there's business to be had there now. That's up to you if you want the work though.
  6. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Your better off to just move on and be done with him. If he was a stellar productive employee I might over look a few things but not when he's letting your work suffer for his profit.
  7. newhere

    newhere PlowSite.com Addict
    from Fenton
    Messages: 1,288

    I would take the advise from these last two guys. Move on. You are waisting your time and sanity dwelling on it. Don't give it any more thought. Fire then. Explain why and that's it.
  8. fireball

    fireball PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 545

    If you don't have a written policy prohibiting such usage that they signed that they received it, you might not have much leverage in court. Just fire them for being hairy ******** and send them on their way. Then travel around to each site that they were doing and state the facts as you know them. You might have 9 new customers.
  9. seville009

    seville009 Senior Member
    from CNY
    Messages: 877

    It's theft/embezzlement. Theystole your fuel, etc for their gain. No different than if they took cash from your wallet and spent it on fuel for their truck to plow on their own.

    You should have them both arrested (and fired). That will make it clear to other employees that you won't put up with it (or sweep it under the rug). If you have multiple employees already screwing you like this, the word is clearly out that they think you won't do anything.

    Plus - you could be held liable for a slip and fall or accident on their lots.
  10. Pristine PM ltd

    Pristine PM ltd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,891

    You are in Toronto right? I think the right detective might take the case
  11. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    Thats the concern I have. I would just fire and move on normally, but the 2nd one didn't start doing this until the newest clown did. They know each other otherwise. I caught them (mainly the new hire) bad mouthing me and the business on our company 2 ways - without any sort of justification (they were out on a Sunday doing drift cleanups and plowback cleanups and I guess they felt that there wasn't enough to warrant their time even though they are paid hourly and its been a slow winter. They assumed that I was at home watching the game with a few choice words thrown in. In actuality I was out filling in for a shoveller that didn't show up due to a death in the family). Its like he has poisoned the rest of the employees attitudes. I lost one shoveller after that storm and the only thing he would say is that he heard on the 2 way that I don't pay my guys (it was my 'friend' spouting off about how he hadn't received his cheque - even though he had only started the week before and we are on a biweekly pay cycle with payday occurring the Friday after the pay period cut off - pretty standard and he was well aware of the terms when he started).
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
  12. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    No not in the city. 2 hours away in small town rural Ontario.
  13. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,253

    For those recommending prosecution (which in a just world, edgeair should have a case) you did read the part aboot him already contacting the LE and they won't do anything aboot it, right?
  14. alldayrj

    alldayrj PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,108

    You're a calmer man than me. I would have showed up mid plow and pulled him out of the truck and had him walk home. Fire and move on. These guys decide you shorted them 15 mins and you will find yourself audited, comp suits, civil suits, epa, dec, department of labor etc. everything is set up in their favor
  15. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    That is the real thing I am asking here. If anyone else has run into this and had the PD take it on and was a charge filed.

    The exact wording of the message I received from the local town cop was "my supervisor doesn't think the crown would take that on." This to me means that they are not sure how to classify it (like he said when I met with him originally) and aren't sure how to proceed. A theft is a theft regardless of the amount. They take on shoplifters that take a pack of gum, this is worth much more than that, just that there isn't a 'physical item' stolen. I had an employee use a fuel card a couple years ago for his own vehicle and took about $400 in fuel before I received a statement the following month. They charged him for that. This issue has added up to more than $500 if I count the amount I would normally charge for a one time clearing x the number of times he's done it.

    I called the crown attorney office, but thats a dead end as they only talk to the police and don't give legal advice.
  16. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    You hit the nail on the head there. Yes, I try to take the calm approach. Worst part was I knew it was going on 'live' on my phone screen, but I needed the job to get done as I was already down a guy that day.
  17. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,253

    That was going to be my suggestion, but obviously too late.
  18. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    just because the local yokel doesn't want to serve , doesn't mean you let thief of your equipment go.
    When his employees went to plow those drives and that lot, at that point they were steeling the equipment, plowing without INS and stealing time.
    a lawyer will gather the evidence to bring this body of work to the DA, and or to civil court.
    if the city DA is lazy take it to the county. ruffle a few feathers if ya have to.

    maybe he needs to go to these places and talk to the owners and see if they did any damage.

    he just has to figure out what he wants to do.
    or is it worth it because he got lucky and there is no loss other than the time.

    what would have happened if there was a slip fall or they got into a accident when they stole the equipment to go freelancing?

    At a union shop i worked at they would seek prosecution.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
  19. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,253

    Would be nice if jasonv would add his tooney to this discussion.
  20. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    You can file the charges or have your lawyer do it,
    the DA will have no say in it...
    it will be obstruction if he tries to stop it.
    you just need to swear out a statement, and they will be charged.