Employees Stealing Lunches at Work (Employment Law Guide)

Food theft at work is illegal

Employees having their lunches stolen during working hours is a crime akin to murder. It’s so abhorrent, The Employees Stealing Lunches at Work Act 1974 was established (in 1974).

Its goal? To stop employees from stealing their colleagues’ lunches.

Did it work? Not nearly effectively enough, as the allure of all that food sitting in the work canteen is too appealing for the gluttonous swines amongst your workforce. Read on for full details on how to stamp this shit out!

Food Theft at Work: The Law on Greedy Employees

Picture the scene. It’s a beautiful rainy, wet, miserable Monday morning. Your pathetic, low-paid employees arrive looking haggard, probably hungover, and not particularly bothered about working at your business other than to make ends meet.

The one thing they ARE looking forward to, though, is… lunch.

Many of them, upon arriving at work, will make a beeline straight to the canteen to store their delicious foodstuffs in the fridge for later. However, and tragically, some of those pre-packed lunches and salivatory sandwiches will be STOLEN by some no good BASTARD.

In section 56 (f) on page 5,641 of 456,621 of the The Employees Stealing Lunches at Work Act 1974, the Act states:

“The sad reality of working life is there are some total pricks out there. The type of people who will see a delicious, innocent sandwich sitting there in the fridge. It is not their sandwich. They just have a packet of bourbon biscuits for lunch. Jealous, they envy the sandwich wrapped in cellophane. Machinations of stealing the sandwich evolve in their brain. They hatch a devious plot to swipe it when no one is looking and commit this most heinous of crimes without so much as a backwards glance.

At lunch, the true sandwich owner discovers their sandwich is gone.

After calling the police and initiating a nationwide search for the tuna, cucumber, and mayonnaise sandwich on brown bread (no crusts), £13 million of public taxes is spent in the biggest sandwich hunt in British history. Alas, the search proves sandwichless. Even after 1,000s of volunteers comb the countryside in search of the poor, lost sandwich.

Bereft and grieving, the true sandwich owner spirals into a fit of despair. This results in them resigning from their role and living destitute in a ditch somewhere, all in the vague hope the sandwich may one day return to them.

Meanwhile, the sandwich thief is at large. He/she is ashamed of what they have done, yet satisfied their hunger has been slaked. They are ready to commit this crime again, for they soon spot another tasty sandwich in the workplace fridge. And this one has their name on it, too.”

It’s a sad story, but one all too common in working life (to note, please refer to our crustless sandwiches at work guide for advice regarding this other heinous crime).

It’s good business practice to ensure food theft at work is kept to a minimum, otherwise your employees may unite in collective outrage and riot with wild abandon. This can be bad for productivity, so focus on establishing policies that protect workplace foodstuffs.

How to Deal With Food Theft at Work

Make it very clear in your company handbook you won’t tolerate food theft in your business. There are numerous tactics you can use to stop it, too. These include:

  • Armed guards in the canteen.
  • 24/7 CCTV.
  • Hiring spies to seek out food thieves.
  • Hiring detection dogs to locate stolen foodstuffs.
  • Personally searching every single employee, daily, at 11:30am to ensure no one has cucumber sandwiches stuffed down their trousers.

Whichever approach you take, or if you use all of them, it’s important to establish a suitable punishment. This will act as a deterrent to anyone else who spots a delicious sandwich they wish to swipe.

Recommendations for workplace food theft punishment include:

  • Hanging, drawing, and quartering.
  • Public floggings.
  • Malicious name calling.
  • Instant dismissal.
  • Life imprisonment.
  • 17 million hours of community service.

Really make it, like, super clear you’re not going to tolerate the theft of employee lunches.

It’s crucial you do this, for the loss of a lunchtime sandwich (or any other foodstuff) is akin to the loss of a loved one. The mortal grief an employee can feel if, for example, their sausage roll goes missing can ring for all eternity. They may never recover from this loss, even if there’s a Greggs just down the road and they could get a new sausage roll in about 10 minutes.

No, the only route is to stamp out theft. If it means slaying an offending employee in the process, so be it.

The Most Common Foodstuffs Stolen at Work

You may consider it worthwhile instructing employees to bring in less appetising food, thusly providing a deterrent for theft due to it looking gross.

Common stolen foods at work include:

  • Sandwiches.
  • Sausage rolls.
  • Pasta tubs.
  •  Assortments of fruits.
  • Bags of crisps.
  • Drinks.

As such, consider establishing a policy where employees can only bring disgusting looking food into work. Stuff such as the grotesque stargazy pie, which has fish heads poking out staring at you.

No thief is going to want to steal that.

Although, if they still do anyway (hunger is a bitch, after all), you may wish to install CCTV cameras into the fish heads to ensure you gain evidence of thief in action.

This can then lead to tangible proof, sentencing, and the hanging, drawing, and quartering of the hungry fool who’s single-handedly decimating your workforce of foodstuffs.

Remember, a hungry workforce is a lazy workforce. Do you want to be bankrupt? Your millions lost? No longer able to boss people around and underpay them? Indeed. STAMP OUT SANDWICH THEFT.

If it means leaving former employees’ skulls impaled on spikes around your property as a deterrent, so be it (refer to our Medieval brutality at work guide for advice).

Dispense with some gibberish!

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