Working overtime at your Minnesota workplace can yield an important payday for you and your family, plus it helps generate goodwill towards you from your employer, as hardworking employees are an important asset to any corporation. But could working overtime actually land you as an embezzlement suspect? It is important to understand why employees are suspected of such a white collar crime and why employees who merely work overtime should not be under suspicion.
Findlaw points out that employee behavior can sometimes be a tipoff that an employee is stealing money from the business. The mere fact that you work overtime should never invite suspicions of illicit behavior. Typically, an employer must find other indications that something is going wrong with the company’s finances. For example, an employer may find that financial accounts have gone missing, or the accounting records are so disorganized that it is impossible to keep track of transactions for certain dates. It is these indicators that lead employers to start investigating their employees for possible embezzlement.
This is not to say that overtime activity can never be suspicious. A worker may be coming into the office after normal work hours on a constant basis. The employee may also be skipping holidays and vacations to work in the company office. If someone is utilizing so much access to company property, it could be an indicator that the employee is using company resources, such as company checks, invoices, or computer software for personal enrichment schemes. In this case, the overtime activity is over and beyond what many employees would usually perform at their jobs.
Additionally, overtime activity can be used to carry out embezzlement by virtue of the overtime actually not happening at all. An employee may fill out overtime on a time card and receive payment for it, but in fact the employee did not work any overtime. By doing this, the embezzler is defrauding their employer of wages that have not been worked for. An employer might recognize this activity by noticing that the employee has not reported to the company building on security cameras during the reported overtime, or that the work that has supposedly been performed during overtime has not been completed.
In short, while working overtime can be a component of workplace embezzlement, it alone is not an indicator that a worker is committing any crime unless the overtime activity is unusual. Legitimate embezzlement suspicions involve certain signs that, when taken together, could indicate a scheme to defraud a company of financial assets.
This article is intended to educate readers on embezzlement and should not be read as legal advice.