How to Handle an Unethical Situation That Involves a Co-Worker Stealing Drugs From Work

Reporting co-worker theft helps to protect your employer's assets.
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When working in certain environments, such as a pharmacy and hospital, drugs are easily accessible to many employees. If you witness a co-worker stealing drugs from work, there is a specific protocol to follow. Don't fear being a “snitch.” Stealing is not only unethical, it takes extra money from the company that could otherwise be spent on employee incentives and raises. As an employee, it is your responsibility to report co-worker theft. Failure to do so is often viewed as employee dishonesty, which carries its own consequences.

    Step 1

    Document the details of the incident, including what was stolen, who did it, where it happened and when it happened. Be as specific as possible. If there were any witnesses to the theft, document the names of witnesses. If you have video footage or pictures of the theft taking place, mention this. All of these details help during the company's investigation.

    Step 2

    Determine whether or not your employer has an ethics and compliance hotline. Most major corporations do. Smaller companies are unlikely to have a hotline. If your company has an ethics and compliance hotline, by law, the hotline telephone number should be posted in the company break room or lunch room.

    Step 3

    Report the incident to management. If you like, tell the management team you want to remain anonymous. If reporting through the ethics and compliance hotline, you also have the option of remaining anonymous. Provide the management team with all of the details surrounding the theft.

    Step 4

    Proceed as normal with your daily work routine. If nothing is done within a few months of you reporting the issue, speak with management to get an update on the investigation. It could be that management has been monitoring the employee under surveillance to generate hard evidence. If nothing is done about the theft, you have the option of speaking to the manager's boss or corporate office (if applicable).

    Step 5

    Before going over the manager's head, weigh the possible consequences to see if it is worth it. For instance, if you go over the manager's head and nothing happens to him, he may retaliate by making your work life miserable. Once you report the matter to management, your job is done. It is the responsibility of management to investigate and handle the situation.

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