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Energy Security - Employee Theft in the Coal Fields

NCJ Number
Journal of Security Administration Volume: 3 Issue: 1 Dated: (June 1980) Pages: 10-20
P Maynard
Date Published
12 pages
Examining the nature and extent of employee theft in the coal industry, this study found employee theft to be a greater threat to coal industry investments than major frauds and swindles.
Data were obtained through interviews with laborers, line supervisors, and middle management employees at union and nonunion mines in one Kentucky and four West Virginia counties. According to the informants, coal is one of the major targets of employee theft, as is direct money theft involving forged time cards or computer fraud. Secondary theft of money occurs when employees or their families unlawfully use services for which the company is liable. These secondary thefts include unauthorized use of the company bathhouse (a privilege reserved for miners completing a shift), and of company telephones for long distance calls. Theft of time occurs when employees are present during assigned work periods but are occupied in nonproductive activities, such as sleeping or hunting. In addition, production tools (both heavy equipment and hand tools) are reported to be easy theft targets. In general, internal security fails to prevent employee theft because coal field security is oriented towards strike activities and external theft. Furthermore, this study found a lack of understanding of the purpose and organization of the security branch, not only among the employees but also among the security personnel themselves. Fear of the union and a lack of company loyalty are found to be major factors in coal field security problems. Thirty footnotes are included.


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