Edited * Question put on hold by community due to specificity of the question. To be clear I am not looking for someone to tell us what to do with said employee. I did edit the Title to remove the implication that a yes or no answer was of interest. However the advice, both legal and professional, on this type of issue is broad and I was looking for others that may have dealt with this situation to gain a wider view of how others handled the issue. Thank you for the advice on wording questions appropriately as I am new to this forum. *
We are a very small business and financial issues impact us on a much larger scale. We have an employee that has been with us for almost 5 years. Recently a suspicious manual time card change prompted an audit which resulted in finding more than 20 hours in the past 3 months that are fraudulent. Our office policy is clear that theft and falsifying time sheet entries are offenses that can lead to immediate termination. This employee is directly involved in the financial side of our business and we feel the potential risk might be too great for a write up. Thoughts?
That's not much over 3 months it sounds like he was rounding his time and if that's true then it was about 20 minutes a day. If he was just padding his time a little bit at the beginning and end that's one thing, but if he was taking on entire hours here and there then you gotta get rid of him but no matter what you do you gotta get the money back and write him up. Then you can fire him or keep him. If this is the only thing he ever done then you can probably keep him if you think he learn a good lesson.
Fraud is a very serious offense. I would not try to maintain anyone who committed fraud.
You have to sever ties immediately.
Leaving aside any legal aspects which I am not qualified to deal with, from a business risk perspective, what is the risk that you are worried about with terminating them? They are already stealing from you! Realistically, 20 hours of work in three months is not a lot, but that's what you found. They could have been doing it over the last five years without you knowing. If you keep them around, what's stopping them from doing it in the future? That makes them untrustworthy. Being in finance as well, they may be in a position to do more damage or hide the damage that they are doing. Fraud is fraud, and any amount of it should be material to you.