What If I Know My Boss Is Taking Money?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about boss stealing:

What will happen if I report my boss and co-worker for double dipping expenses, getting their golf membership paid for, taking money out of petty cash?

Signed, Wondering 

Dear Wondering:

That is a tough decision! A major consideration would be whether you know for sure they do not have approval for their actions. Many organizations pay for club memberships and give permission for executives or managers to use money in varying ways. So, make sure you are not misinterpreting their actions.One indicator of wrongdoing would be if they try to hide their actions. If they are open enough that you know about it, it may be they have approval. The size of the company would also make a difference. If it is very small and one or two people seem to be siphoning off money, that is one thing. If the company is large and some social expenses are paid, that might be something else.Another issue is your role in the organization. If you are responsible for some aspect of the expenditures, you could be held responsible if you know there is misuse but you do not report it. And finally, there is the issue of your relationship with your boss and coworker. If you like them and want to keep the relationship you may want to question them about it and tell them that if you notice the problems, other people will too.

Then, if it continues you will have no option but to report it. If you have had problems with your boss and coworker, you would probably not go to them first. But you DO want to make sure you think of your motivation. If this is only retaliation for a problem you are having, you will likely not come out of it looking good, no matter what happens to the others. That is especially true if you knew about it all along and only report it after a conflict situation. If you are going to report it, you should make copies of whatever evidence you have and maybe keep a record for a short time, so information could be tracked after you report it. Then, give the information to the manager of your boss, or to any other person you think is appropriate within your organization.I don’t blame you for being concerned–it’s a very difficult situation to be in. This much I do know though….if you are sincerely trying to help the organization and not just trying to get someone in trouble without really knowing the facts, your actions will be appreciated by higher levels. I can’t guarantee what will happen, of course. And you know the people above you better than anyone else would. But few organizations would want wrongdoing involving money to go unreported.Best wishes as you deal with this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.