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Internal External  workplace violence

Type: material or financial

Theft - Fraud - Vandalism

What is theft?
What are the consequences of theft at work?
What are the legal consequences of theft?

What is theft?

Theft means to take someone else’s property, either surreptitiously or by force. In business, theft is to take or retain more than what is due (salary, fines or deductions) or taking excessive benefits (swindling).

The following are a few synonyms:

appropriation
armed robbery
attack
banditry
breaking and entering
embezzlement
fraud
hold-up
larceny
looting
misappropriation
pilfering
robbery
swindle
thieving

What are the consequences of theft at work?

FOR THE VICTIM
The consequences of theft by someone inside the company vary depending on the extent of the theft itself, the value of the stolen goods, the motives, and the method used. Having one’s wallet stolen because of carelessness can be less dramatic than being the victim of repeated petty theft by a mystery person. In the first case, the victim learns to be more careful after losing a bit of money and a great deal of time to replace bank or credit cards. In the second case the victim experiences an annoying problem that could turn out to be psychological harassment causing serious stress and post-traumatic syndrome with its associated physiological (hypertension, ulcers, eczema, pains) and psychological (nervousness, insomnia, exhaustion) effects. Theft also causes economic distress for the victim, who loses money or may have to pay to replace property. Moreover, if mental health problems develop, the victim may have to stop working and suffer a loss in earnings.

FOR WITNESSES INSIDE THE ORGANIZATION
Workers who witness theft inside their organization may lose trust in their colleagues and in their workplace. They may feel insecure and threatened. They are likely to watch everything that is going on at work instead of concentrating on their tasks. The quality of their work and their productivity may suffer.

FOR THE ORGANIZATION
Depending upon the extent, frequency and nature of the theft, an organization may find itself in a difficult position that could compromise two key elements having to do with its operations and reputation: its security system, and trust in the honesty of its staff. Therefore theft affects material and human resources. Moreover, sometimes an associate, a manager, an administrator or a simple employee is the thief, which adds to the complexity of the situation.

What are the legal consequences of theft?

Section 334 of the Criminal Code of Canada describes the punishment for theft as follows:
Except where otherwise provided by law, every one who commits theft:

  1. is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, where the property stolen is a testamentary instrument or the value of what is stolen exceeds five thousand dollars; or

  2. is guilty

  1. of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or

  2. of an offence punishable on summary conviction, where the value of what is stolen does not exceed five thousand dollars.

A conviction under the law or the Criminal Code can affect a person’s right to practice a trade or profession.

 

Fraud - Theft - Vandalism

What is fraud?
What are the consequences of fraud at work?
What are the legal consequences of fraud?

What is fraud?

Fraud occurs in the workplace when deception or trickery by one or more employees causes or may cause the employer or employee to lose property, money, or a valuable security or any service.

What are the consequences of fraud at work?

FOR THE VICTIM
A victim of fraud not only suffers material or financial loss, but also deals with being deceived by a co-worker at work and facing the unpleasant task of legal proceedings to gather evidence and recover his or her loss. This may cause a high level of stress with physiological (hypertension, ulcers, eczema, pains) and psychological (nervousness, insomnia, emotional instability, exhaustion) effects.

FOR WITNESSES INSIDE THE ORGANIZATION
Depending on the extent of the fraud and whether they could have prevented it or exposed it, some key witnesses could be prosecuted.

For others, fraud remains a form of treason. As in cases of theft, witnesses of fraud inside an organization may lose confidence in their co-workers or their employer. Their performance and the atmosphere at work could be affected greatly. Some employees immediately resign. Those who decide to stay on may feel depressed and even develop mental health problems.
Warning! Mental health problems caused by fraud in the workplace may arise from Cognitive Dissonance, i.e. believing something but having to do the opposite. In this particular case, witnesses feel caught between keeping quiet about an act they know is dishonest, for fear of losing a job they need in order to meet their financial obligations, or exposing the fraud in accordance with their sense of self-worth and moral judgement but losing their employment.

FOR THE ORGANIZATION
Dismissals, lawsuits, stronger security, higher insurance premiums, replacement of equipment, etc., are tangible consequences for the organization that will translate into costs that vary depending on the extent of the fraud that was perpetrated against the company or one or more of its employees. In a less tangible way, the organization’s image and integrity may also be affected.

What are the legal consequences of fraud?

Fraud is a criminal offence that is often hard to prove. Case law sets the conditions that determine whether an infraction has been committed. Fraud has occurred if the following conditions are met:

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, the punishment for fraud is as follows:

A conviction under the law or the Criminal Code can affect a person’s right to practice a trade or profession.

Warning! Defrauders are criminals capable of deceiving even the most intelligent people. Do not be ashamed if you feel you have been “had”. Expose them!

 

Vandalism - Theft - Fraud

What is vandalism?
What are the consequences of vandalism at work?
What are the legal consequences of vandalism?

What is vandalism?

Vandalism is committed when one or more individuals, during the exercise of their profession, wilfully damage or destroy the property that has been made available to them for the purpose of their work (rooms, facilities, vehicles or equipments). These actions may be aimed at the employer or at a specific individual.

What are the consequences of vandalism at work?

FOR THE VICTIM
Vandalism is an act of hostility directed at a victim. The aggressor is indirectly assaulting the victim by destroying his or her work tools while, at the same time, contaminating life at work, inflicting stress and possibly provoking confrontation.

FOR WITNESSES INSIDE THE ORGANIZATION
Vandalism can deteriorate the work environment and threaten security in the workplace. Witnesses of vandalism often do not dare step in for fear of endangering their own safety or personal belongings.

FOR THE ORGANIZATION
Vandalism creates tension at work. Employers may have to negotiate and, in more extreme cases, resort to force to restore order and resolve conflicts. This, in turn, may result in material and financial losses, loss of time and productivity and tighter security, and also affect insurability as well as the organization’s image and culture.

What are the legal consequences of vandalism?

Any act of vandalism merits a criminal sanction because it unjustifiably deprives someone of personal goods or causes damage. Vandalism is a criminal act that falls under "mischief" according to section 430 of the Criminal Code of Canada and is described as follows:

430. (1) Every one commits mischief who wilfully

  1. destroys or damages property;

  2. renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;

  3. obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or

  4. obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.

Mischief in relation to data
(1.1) Every one commits mischief who wilfully

  1. destroys or alters data;

  2. renders data meaningless, useless or ineffective;

  3. obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use of data; or

  4. obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use of data or denies access to data to any person who is entitled to access thereto.

Punishment

(2) Every one who commits mischief that causes actual danger to life is guilty of an indictable offence and
liable to imprisonment for life.
(…)
(4) Every one who commits mischief in relation to property, other than property described in subsection (3) –testamentary instrument,

  1. is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
    (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
    (…)

(5) Every one who commits mischief in relation to data,

  1. is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

  2. is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

A conviction under the law or the Criminal Code can affect a person’s right to practice a trade or profession.

 

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