Securing a good job can be challenging, so you need to avoid destroying your hard work by mixing your business and personal life. If your company accuses you of embezzlement, you could lose your job and face criminal charges. If convicted, it will make getting another job even harder.
Embezzlement means abusing a position of trust to take something that isn’t yours to keep. Breaking into the company garage and stealing a car, for example, would be theft, as you did not have the right to access it. Keeping a company vehicle that you drive during the week to go on a cross-country trip with your pals on the weekend could be classed as embezzlement if you did not get permission first.
Prior permission can avoid embezzlement accusations
Separating work and personal life can be tough, yet drawing a clear line and keeping to it is essential. Here are some more examples of activities that could lead to embezzlement accusations:
- Using the company credit card for personal items: You get to the gas station and realize you have left your wallet at home. However, you do have the company credit card in the glovebox, so use that to fill the family car. If you need to do so, ring for permission first. Otherwise, the accounts department may flag it up and put you under suspicion.
- Accepting supplier gifts: Suppliers spend money to tempt new clients or retain existing ones. Your company may have no problem with a supplier taking you out for lunch if you are the head of purchasing. However, they may have an issue if they discover the supplier gives you cash or commission. Again it is best to inform your boss before accepting anything.
Many embezzlement accusations result from a misunderstanding or a lack of clear boundaries. If your company is accusing you and refuses to believe your explanation, you may need legal help to defend your innocence.