The legal system distinguishes acts

Once a theory is determined, its feasibility is tested as to its effectiveness. The theory is applied to the real world for evaluation. A theory is determined as incorrect if the tests fail to support it. It is not meaningful to test other aspects of the theory if it fails a particular test. Sadly, most theories of crime are never completely supported or refuted. Some empirical tests may support the theory; while some might offer partial support while the others might refute the theories.

It is for this reason that theories are examined based on ‘weight of the evidence’. It should be determined whether majority of the tests support the theory or whether certain aspects of the theory is supported more than others and whether high-quality research designs support the theory. The classification of theories can also be carried out based on their level of application. Some theories operate at the micro level or at a individual basis while some theories can explain happenings at a macro level or groups.

A theory can be identified as a macro theory or a micro theory by looking at what it predicts. Macro level theories express crimes in ‘rates’. The legal system distinguishes acts performed by deviant behavior into offences and crimes. The tort law recognizes certain acts as offences because they affect an individual, causing loss or injury. These laws protect personal privacy, family relations, reputation and dignity while providing remedies in case of any intrusion.

In such cases, the wrongful conduct by someone renders the affected person for compensation or protection. These are basically civil suits by one person against another. A crime on the other hand is an act of such magnitude that it is considered as an act against the society or state. A crime is a breach of duty owed to the society and criminal acts are prosecuted by the state. The Crimes are classified in several ways within the criminal law.

Among the oldest form of distinction between crimes is the Mala in se and Mala prohibita. Mala in se which is interpreted as ‘evil in themselves’ include core criminal activities like robbery and homicide while Mala prohibita or ‘prohibited wrong doings’ covers acts requiring behavior regulation like drug abuse, gambling, prostitution etc. Another common classification of crimes is based on the seriousness of the offense, distinguished as felonies, which are serious crimes or misdemeanors, which are petty crimes.

‘Workplace crime’ is defined as any harmful act committed by a person or a group of persons during the course of a legitimate occupation (Ismaili, 2001: 530). It is conceived as a crime specifically generated by the workplace and is broken down into occupational crime, corporate crime and workplace crime. While occupational crimes and organizational crimes look obvious, the workplace is just a setting and cannot be further involved in crime generation or in analyzing the crimes generated. (David O. Friedrichs).

The term workplace crime is applicable to conventional crimes, but needs to be further differentiated in terms of whether they involve insiders and outsiders. Sygnatur and Toscano suggest that the probability of one becoming an occupational homicide victim depends on the kind of occupation one is involved. Workers engaged in cash transactions are generally at greatest risk of workplace homicide, particularly taxicab drivers and chauffeurs. The Pearson Correlation procedure determined the existence of a significant relationship between unemployment rates and occupational homicide rates.

Since the publication of Clinard and Quinney’s ‘Criminal Behavior Systems: A Typology,’ occupational crime has been considered as an important aspect of white collar crime. However recent use of the term ‘occupational crime’ is far from its original meaning of white collar crime. The term is used along with other terms like ‘occupational deviance’ and ‘workplace crime’, which results in occupational crime including activities not related to white collar crime.

The three terms are differentiated by restricting the use of ‘occupational crime’ to illegal and unethical activities committed for individual financial gains or to avoid personal loss, during a legitimate occupation. The term ‘occupational deviance’ should imply deviance from normal occupational practices like sexual harassment, drinking while on job etc. and ‘workplace crime’ should only imply conventional crimes like murder, rape etc. committed in the workplace. (David O. Friedrichs).