You Will Get Fired if: You Steal!

This is the last in the “you will get fired” series (I hope). Even when the employee does something bad, like stealing, going through the conflict of termination is unpleasant, not satisfying. In owning a small business, there are ways employees “steal” from the company. I’ve been remembering about a direct financial theft we suffered a few years ago. We had an employee who “lifted” our bank information and made an online purchase using that information. As soon as we determined something “funny” was going on, we investigated further and figured out that the same employee “double cashed” a paycheck. This was an employee who was not performing as well as necessary. I think she knew this and decided to exploit the situation. Fortunately, the bank covered us financially, in large part, though we had to go through closing and re-opening the bank account (an expensive proposition in and of itself). A business owner with whom we worked encountered a similar financial theft, surprising both of us at how easy it is to perpetrate such crimes, pretty much avoiding prosecution. These direct examples aside, smaller thefts occur more regularly. Regularly conducing personal business on work time is an example. Some things have to be done during the work hours, but doing this frequently, and without “making up the time” is a form of theft. Taking home office supplies for personal use or using the postage meter for one’s personal mail are other examples. Taking home snacks or drinks provided by the office are still more examples. We’ve had all of those happen. It is disheartening to suffer these things – a death by a thousand cuts.

Reading this series of posts about reasons for firing an employee might give the reader the impression that David and I have had terrible luck with our employees.  If so, I want to explain that, to the contrary, we have had many wonderful employees in our almost 30 years of owning and operating Magnus.  I will name the employees who immediately come to mind as possessing the traits required to excel in their employment: Chelsea, who has worked with us for 16 years; Megan, who has worked with us for 7 years; Neal, who worked with us for 14 years; Barney, who worked with us for 12 years; Jessica, who worked with us for 3 years; Kristin, who worked with us for 2 years and who is now our client (after completing law school); and, of course, Suzanne, whom we have known since childhood and whom David and I consider as the daughter we never had.  (As an aside, Suzanne worked for Magnus when she was in high school then between college and law school.  She is currently a successful JAG lawyer in the U.S. Army.)  Now that I have placed the bad employees into perspective, I will comment on the content of David’s writing.  Stealing from Magnus is disgusting and will definitely result in firing and perhaps, an encounter with the Broward County Sheriff’s Department.  Luckily for David and me, actual thievery on the part of employees has been rare.  It is painful when it happens, that’s for sure, however, it hasn’t happened often.  The theft of time, however, has taken its toll on both David and me, as well as Magnus’ bottom line.  We are a small business and we cannot afford to pay someone to do anything except work during work time.  The worst time thief of all, in my opinion, is the cell telephone, which many people appear to have glued to their hand at all times of the day.  I am in favor of working during work hours and doing personal activities during personal, non work time; mingling these activities will lead to a short tenure at Magnus. 

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