Friday’s dilemma: sympathy for a broke thief or not?
Is it ever OK to condone theft? A reader sent us in this doozy recently…
“I recently had an employee come and see me because he was struggling financially. A not so good lawyer had not only seen him lose custody of his 3 kids in the family court, but also during the divorce settlement gave his wife almost everything.
“She’s now a single mum with 3 kids and can barley support herself so his payments to her, set by the court, leave him with little to no money of his own. He has since found a new lady friend who has two kids of her own and they have moved in together. Although done for love, this does ease the financial burden caused by rent, utilities, etc.
“However, now with two extra kids to support they are literally skint, struggling each week to get food on the table and keep the kids in fresh clean clothes.
“Being the responsible employer I put him in touch with a counsellor and a financial planner (both free of charge at the company’s expense), and he has since got a few things on track. However, this week I caught him red handed on camera stealing washing powder, soap, and other cleaning products.
“When I asked why he explained to me that one of his children wanted to go on a school camp, and because he wanted his kids to have a good education and life building experiences he couldn’t deny a simple request. So to pay for it they had to give up on some of the shopping and forgo some basic goods to pay for it.
“And when they ran out and had no money left to purchase anything else he chose to steal the products from work.
“Should I have sympathy for him and turn a blind eye knowing that these losses to the company don’t even make up 0.01% of our daily turnover, or should I sack him for stealing? (NB: I still haven’t decided and am dragging it out claiming its under investigation.)”
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