Employee Theft

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Subject: LCSH



Criminology and Criminal Justice


Employee theft is considered a form of white-collar crime. The concept of white-collar crime was first introduced by Edwin Sutherland in his 1939 presidential address to the American Society of Criminology. Most scholars now agree that white-collar crime is presently a very broad subject. Historically, white-collar crime has been thought of as crimes committed by executives in any corporate setting. This is a common misconception in that theft by employees can occur from any position within an employer's chain of command. Whether an entry-level worker takes office supplies or a CEO embezzles millions of dollars, both employees have committed employee theft. White-collar crime is divided into two crime categories, occupational and corporate crime. Presently, scholars regard employee theft as an occupational crime. However, scholars have been unable to accept a universally conclusive definition of employee theft.


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DOI: 10.1002/9781118517383.wbeccj031

Publisher Citation

Smith, B.T. (2014). Employee Theft. In J.S. Albanese (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.