We reviewed request no. 1380 for the year 2007 which arrived by fax and includes the following:
The inquirer owns a telemarketing company and has questions regarding the following:
1. A team of employees deliver orders and perform services in the clients' homes and afterwards collects the fees. The company became aware that some of these employees deceive the customers into paying higher fees by falsely claiming higher prices and unsuspecting and trusting customers comply. The employees then give the [real] purchase price to the company and distribute the rest among themselves without reporting the extra money, claiming to give the company its due right. Is this permissible in Islamic law?
The company provides its employees with comfortable means of transportation (taxis) to carry out their tasks. However, some of them prefer to use cheaper means and pocket the difference without informing their employer. Is this permissible?
1-If the case is as mentioned in the question, the conduct of these employees is unlawful because it involves:
· Lying to customers and wrongfully consuming their money.
· Defaming and causing competitive harm to the company.
· Causing conflict between customers and the company.
· Cheating their employer.
An employee is an agent hired by the company and not a broker. Therefore, he is not entitled to profit from the tasks for which he is paid. Moreover, it is established in Islamic law that it is impermissible for an agent to manage the business entrusted to him in a certain manner without the permission of his authorizer.
2- Time plays a vital role in some jobs and employees have to carry out the tasks assigned to them during a specified number of hours. Based on this, the company provides its employees with costly means of transportation, allowing them to carry out the greatest number of assigned tasks, saving both time and effort which may be wasted by using cheaper means of transportation. Therefore, it is impermissible to save from the allocated travel expenses by using cheaper means of transportation except with the employer's permission.
Some jobs require an employee to complete a certain task within a specific period. Once he completes his task within the appointed time nothing more is required of him; there is no harm if he uses public transportation and keeps the rest of the travel expenses provided he does not neglect his duties during their scheduled time. This is permissible unless it is otherwise mentioned in the contract due to the hadith which states "Muslims must fulfill their agreements."
Allah Almighty knows best.