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What do you do when an employee brings their child to work and that child vandalizes property?

Generally, any criminal conduct including vandalism should be reported to local law enforcement.
Employers may conduct their own internal investigation if it’s believed the crime was committed by an employee. However, in this situation, the accused violator is the child of an employee so disciplinary action against the employee is unjustified. Is it a fact that the violator is a child of an employee? Did the employee provide this information or is the accusation based on witness accounts?

If the employee reported or admitted that his child committed the act of vandalism the employer may choose to offer that the employee financially remedy the situation. The retribution shouldn’t be deducted from the employee’s wages. Such deductions may violate federal and state compensation laws. A written agreement signed by both parties should state the admission of guilt, amount to be repaid, and how the repayment will occur. A downside to this option is that the employee may refuse to pay or may quit without fully repaying. The employer may then choose to seek legal action to collect the money or absorb the balance.

Another option would be to let local law enforcement handle the matter. The police will investigate, file the necessary charges, and the court may institute the appropriate restitution. Make sure to provide any information available such as photos of the vandalism, estimated time of the incident, who reported the incident, witness statements, etc. In the meantime, it may be a good idea to discuss the situation with the employee whose child supposedly committed the crime. Explain your obligation to report the incident and the expectation that the employee will act professionally at work during the investigation. The downside to this option is that the employee may have bad feelings toward the employer resulting in decreased employee morale and low productivity.

An employer in this situation must consider the pros and cons of both options. Additionally, the decision made in this situation will set a precedent for future similar instances. It’s important to keep in mind the affects of both options on the employee and employer.


This entry was posted on Saturday, June 21st, 2014 at 5:13 am and is filed under
Human Resources Management.
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