I'm not sure if this question is appropriate for this SE, but I don't think there's one for laws and stuff.

Recently, I've been noticing someone has been stealing food from my office desk drawers. I could understand if it's on top of my desk, but the food is in my desk drawers! Meaning it's not open for the public!

Anyway, I left a note in my drawing to basically not eat it... please. This note has been ignored and my stuff keeps getting stolen. This is ridiculous! I have no idea who is doing this. It could be one of my co-workers or maybe the cleaning staff, I don't know.

If I were to put laxatives or something to my food, am I legally in trouble if the culprit gets poisoned?

  • 5
    Putting laxatives in the food could be classed as assault, since you expect it to be eaten by someone.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 19:34
  • Have you tried locking your drawer, or not putting food in it? Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 19:36
  • 1
    possible duplicate of A co-worker is using my cup
    – NotMe
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 19:38
  • 1
    possible duplicate of workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/6283/…
    – NotMe
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 19:39
  • 2
    Hi and welcome to The Workplace. This question was ok for this site until I got to the last paragraph, which is a legal question. Those are off-topic here (we're not lawyers and anyway every jurisdiction is different). I'm putting this on hold temporarily; if you edit to instead ask what you can do to address the problem, we can review that for reopening. Meanwhile, check out the question about food stolen from a shared fridge; it's not exactly your situation, but it might be close enough for your purposes. Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 19:57

2 Answers 2


Your office has, at its core, a security problem. Regardless of who is opening your desk drawers, they probably shouldn't be. There could be sensitive information in there, or personal belongings that are not easily replaced (reading glasses, perhaps), or other things of that nature.

Yes, if you have sensitive or valuable stuff it should be locked away, but the fact remains that someone is going through your desk and taking things that they shouldn't - and likely doing it to others as well.

Bring your concern to your manager. Just frame it as "snacks that I've been keeping in my desk have been disappearing, is there anything we can do about it?" You will probably need to get building management/security involved as well, and maybe your HR department. Let your manager start the process - but go to HR if (s)he doesn't take action.

Something similar happened in my office a number of years ago; employee-owned electronics were disappearing from desk drawers, or were found disturbed (as though someone had taken them, then put them back). A hidden camera was put in for a few weeks and the offender was caught in the act.


Do you have a lock key to your desk? If not, could you get one? I know at the place I work at they have keys to the desk but they go missing after a while since one person leaves and forgets to put the key back.

Anyway, chances are it's the cleaning crew doing it or if someone noticed you had it. Chances are the person doing it is someone very close to you or have seen you open the drawer and grabbed a snack. At my work place, overnight some things go missing. I suspect it is the cleaning crew. However, over the years it sort of stops on its own.

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