There are many factors whether you should prosecute an employee after you have caught them red-handed. Although sometimes the decision is not yours, but simply a matter of your organizations policy or your legal teams decision.
When that decision is yours to make or yours to convince others, there are many factors to consider. The time involved for you and your team can be very costly, as preparing for trial, the trial itself, and perhaps fighting or preparing an appeal can appear to outweigh the value of prosecution. You must consider what else is on your agenda to establish whether you can afford your time, or others’ time in your organization.
Will the publicity of a trial benefit or hurt your organization?
For instance, many financial companies, including banks, are reluctant to prosecute an employee, for fear of publicity making them appear unable to reliably manage funds. Or perhaps someone very well known and respected —or even someone related to a founder— is caught.
Will your career be in jeopardy if you recommend prosecution? Should you ethically care about outside pressure?
A major upside to prosecuting is setting the stage highlighting to others to realize what may happen if they are caught. Most employees are honest, but when they see someone that they know, getting away with theft on a regular basis and then getting a “slap on the wrist” after being caught, they become incensed.
Then one day, they are having financial difficulties, or are tuned down for a raise. Knowing that others were treated lightly when caught, they may cross that line.
I am not an attorney, but I have been able to observe the legal process and it is most often slow, costly, mentally draining, but it may be worth the sacrifice to curtail or prevent such illegal activity in the future.
Just know what you are getting into.
About The Author
CEO of Sperry West,
U.S. manufacturer of covert cameras and covert surveillance kits to assist you in recording criminal activity.