When an employee steals from you

This week I learned that a trusted employee has been stealing from me. For about a year.

I learned this from her roommate, who also happens to be an employee of mine. The roommate let me know that there had been theft in their house and red flags went off in my head immediately.

In addition to teaching, this trusted employee had been working at my house, helping with my children. After hearing the report from her roommate, I began to wonder about all of the things I thought I had “lost” over the past year. I emailed the employee and told her we needed to talk about the things that were missing from my house. She responded immediately and came over within the hour. She confessed that she had been stealing from my house for over a year. She had taken clothes, household items, books, etc. Whatever she thought I wouldn’t miss. That day she returned most of what she had taken since Christmas. The rest she had already sold, pawned or given away.

I was shocked and yet not totally surprised. In the last year, this employee had needed a series of pay advances, had requested extra hours working at my house, had dropped out of school, and left several of her other jobs. Despite the warning signs, I hung onto her because she still did a nice job with students, she had been a student here since childhood, I had given her a $1,000 college scholarship, and I believed she would pull it together.

Her betrayal left me with some decisions to make:

First, there were practical considerations. She can no longer come to my home. She will finish up the last few weeks of the season with no pay (her sisters still dance at the studio, so I am extending this grace so as not to shame her family). She will not be invited back next season. She will no longer be able to use me as a reference or get a recommendation from the studio–her longest place of employment. She will replace or pay me for what has not been returned.

Then there are matters of the heart. I have chosen to forgive her. Her sister told me she didn’t understand how I could forgive her after she had stolen so much from me.

My answer is as follows:

“My philosophy is to run as hard and fast to the place I am going to end up anyway. I will eventually forgive her, so I might as well do it now. The space between insult and forgiveness is called bitterness and that’s a place I don’t want to live.”

Perhaps you have been through something similar, or maybe even worse. If so, my heart goes out to you and I hope you will be able to forgive as well.

Blessings and peace on your day, Misty[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]