Using someone else’s money or property without their knowledge is considered financial abuse. Although this is a simplified explanation financial abuse is not necessarily a simple crime. In fact, there are many different forms of financial abuse in marriages or among other family members.
For example, one spouse may require that the other work but then control every cent of both their paychecks. Or, a child may take financial advantage of an elderly parent.
But there is at least one other kind of financial abuse as well. It is financial abuse in the workplace. Now that we have identified it, what can be done about it?
Abuse by an Employee
Mishandling of Business Credit Card
When an employee uses a business credit card to pay for personal items this is an example of financial abuse in the workplace. Unfortunately, if you own or manage the business, you may not be able to get all of the money back.
For example, if the credit card has that employee’s name on it and they are an authorized user, then the business may be held liable. Of course, you do have a few options.
One thing you could do is ask the employee to pay back the charges that were incurred. You could also fire them. It is also possible that you could deduct some of the money from future paychecks until the charges are paid back.
If you question what you can and can’t do legally, check with a lawyer.
Not Following Company Policies
Company policies exist for a reason. One of those reasons is to prevent employees from abusing company funds and resources.
When employees do not follow those policies it can cause financial impacts on the business. If that occurs it could be labeled as a form of financial abuse.
An example might be using the company vehicle for personal use. Or, another possible case of financial abuse could be if the employee uses other company owned equipment that results in additional expenses for the company.
Again, the business has the right to reprimand the employee or let them go.
Abuse by the Business
Withholding or Lowering a Paycheck
Another type of financial abuse in a business is that of a boss or supervisor withholding or lowering an employee’s paycheck without a prior explanation or warning.
Financial abuse of this kind can result in financial distress for the employee affected. In addition, it is illegal.
An employee who experiences this financial abuse can certainly ask for the back pay. Or, they may decide it is better to hire a lawyer and seek compensation for the lost wages.
Reducing an Employee Benefits Package
If your employer reduces your benefits package but doesn’t give you any notice you may be able to do something about it. This is a form of financial abuse against you.
The first thing I would do is talk to your human resources manager to see if it was simply a misunderstanding. If you do not get to the bottom of the problem, you have the right to consult an attorney.
Clearly there are different kinds of financial abuse. But you don’t have to just put up with it as an employee or employer. You can do something about it.