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Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

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Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Old 09-29-19, 12:41 AM
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Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

I work as a Custodian for an elementary school on the 3pm-11pm shift and have been there around 10 years or so. There are a total of 5 employees on my shift. Around 5 years ago a new employee was hired on our shift who the boss, or Head Custodian immediately took a liking to. On our shift we have a "Night Lead". Our previous night lead unfortunately died a few years ago & even though this new employee was just made full time a month prior, our boss decided to give him the Night Lead position. This new employee & myself grew considerably close whom I considered a friend, however, he is a major thief. I knew he would take "small" things here & there that probably would never be missed. However, for the last few months, he would stay behind after all of us would leave which seemed suspicious to all of us especially when we would stand by the scan out machine waiting for 11pm to scan out & get out of there. One night I was on my way home, and 2 minutes in I realized I forgot something in my locker and headed back to grab it. I caught him carrying 2 full garbage bags to his car. Being that the bags were black, I could not see what the contents were. Not too long ago he was drinking on the job & started bragging (to me) about everything he steals on a regular basis. Money from the teachers desks, food from the kitchen which is purchased in bulk to feed the students, so it's a very large amount. We get deliveries of HP ink toners every few months which someone mentioned some were very expensive. He immediately started pricing them on his phone. When I (used) to sell on eBay, I asked the guys to grab empty boxes they could find to use to ship the items I sold. Soon as he heard I was an eBay seller, he immediately asked to cut a deal with me where he would steal the ink carts & I'd unload them on eBay. I said absolutely not. Over the last month or so, he asked 2 or 3 more times to which I gave him the same answer every time.
Today I was talking to a co-worker from the day shift who mentioned that teachers/kitchen staff have been complaining lately of things going missing. Of course, the Custodians are the first ones to get blamed, and rightfully so, because it is a Custodian that is stealing this stuff. I feel like my job, as well as my co-workers jobs could possibly be in jeopardy because of his actions.
I have never nor would ever "rat" on a co-worker, I've told this person numerous times to stop taking things, but like I said he is the Night Lead, and a thief, so he does not listen. As I also mentioned earlier, this person is one of the boss' "favorites", and I am not, so even if I decided to drop a dime I feel like it would be my word against his and I'd be sided against. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

Last edited by JZ1276; 09-29-19 at 12:52 AM.
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Old 09-29-19, 12:51 AM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

I'd consider hiding somewhere and grabbing a video of him taking stuff to his car. Then keep it on hand, in the event that this comes out.

Of course, that will still leave you on the hook for not reporting the thief, but as he's a thief, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he would try to blame the thefts on someone else, including you.

Fuck, I hate thieves. This guy sounds like a piece of work.
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Old 09-29-19, 01:55 AM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Your boss has a boss. I'd take the video and give it to him telling him you are afraid of retribution due to the friendship between your boss and the night shift lead. You're all going to wind up getting fired because of the actions of one person. By you knowing about it - you are complicit as well as legally on the hook. For me personally I would not permit this to drag on.
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Old 09-29-19, 02:32 AM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Look the other way.
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Old 09-29-19, 02:57 AM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Knowledge of criminal acts and not reporting them makes anyone who knows of them an accessory.

It sounds like the school may already be suspicious of the custodial staff. If so, they will sooner or later investigate. All it will take is someone (teacher?) with a spy cam, sending an anonymous video to school authorities. If they find anything on this guy or catch him in the act (and they will if he's as stupid he sounds), if he can shift blame or pull someone else down with him, he will probably try.

Your interactions may already have marked you as untrustworthy. Has he been in your vehicle or home? Have a locker at work? He could have left something incriminating... a receipt, slip of paper torn from something he stole, or something small stolen from a teacher/student. Anything, anywhere.

Paranoid yet?

I am not a lawyer, so you might think about contacting one on a confidential basis and get their advice.

I do not envy your situation.
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Old 09-29-19, 04:45 AM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

I wouldn't go over your supervisor's head to his boss, what I would do is go to the school's principal and make that person aware of the situation and why you don't feel you can go to your own supervisor. The principal is the one whose staff is being ripped off. S/he will act on it.
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Old 09-29-19, 06:42 AM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Report it the principal. Or make an anonymous report to the principal. Or the school district superintendent.
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Old 09-29-19, 08:01 AM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

If the teachers are suspicious, they're probably setting up a hidden cam. I know I would. This guy will eventually get caught. Are other custodians aware of his activity? He might bring everyone down with him. You have to figure out a way to CYA without ratting him out.
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Old 09-29-19, 09:45 AM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

You tried talking to him. I'd rat his ass out with video proof. The school's solution could be to fire you all and start over or subcontract to 3rd party.
Throw your hat in ring for lead position.
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Old 09-29-19, 10:05 AM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

It takes 5 people 8 hours to clean one elementary school?
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Old 09-29-19, 10:54 AM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
It takes 5 people 8 hours to clean one elementary school?
Ebay lookups can take time.
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Old 09-29-19, 10:59 AM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
It takes 5 people 8 hours to clean one elementary school?
No. It takes 4 people 8 hours to clean one elementary school, and one to rob them blind.

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Old 09-29-19, 11:11 AM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Originally Posted by JZ1276 View Post
I have never nor would ever "rat" on a co-worker,
Why? This guy doesn't give a shit about your job, so why are you protecting his? And he gives even less of a shit about the students and teachers he's stealing from. Do you think he ever went through a kid's locker and stole from an actual child? You did say elementary school. (Maybe they don't have lockers, but they must have personal stuff stored somewhere.)

This term "rat" is kind of pathetic and disgusting. Why is there a rodent insult (or any insult at all) associated with people who go to the authorities about crimes being committed?

The fucking bullshit "blue wall of silence" is the reason crooked cops get away with so much. The other cops don't want to "rat" on one of their own. They'd rather protect a criminal than do their job.

I don't know what your specific job requirements are, but I'm betting "don't look the other way on crime" is part of it.


But hey, if none of that convinces you, maybe this will: This guy will throw you under the bus in a second. WHEN they catch him, they'll probably offer a lighter sentence if he tells who else was involved. He already TRIED to involve you. OR, they might get him on video stealing, and you watching him steal and doing nothing.
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Old 09-29-19, 11:14 AM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

JZ, your getting a lot of opinions from all over the map. You’re going to have to pick out what works best for you.

My opinion based on too many years of retail management experience (and having been through similar situations from almost every angle): you NEED to get ahead of this before it bites you in the ass. It may have already. You have let far too much go on with your knowledge. You need to figure out what you are going to do pretty quickly and do it ASAP (as in: you have tonight to figure it out and should be going tomorrow). As you have already said, the whole staff is now in serious jeopardy.

The video thing sounds like a good idea, but it is not. Your job is not to investigate. Your job was to report. At this point, it could just look like you are trying to cover your own backside and set somebody up to take the fall for you.

Do any of your other counterparts have any knowledge about this? I would bet that they do, even if they haven’t said anything. If you feel you can trust each other, you need to do this as a group.

If you don’t feel you can trust your supervisor (which is understandable and far more common than you think), you need to figure out who you can go to. Somebody mentioned the principal and that may be a good option. Do you have an HR contact that you can go to? That may be your best option. Do not report it anonymously, but find someone you can trust to keep you anonymous.

Make sure you have a good explanation of why you have kept quiet, i.e., explain why you did not feel you could go to your supervisor. You aren’t trying to compromise the supervisor, but you obviously have your reasons to feel that way.
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Old 09-29-19, 12:44 PM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Forget the camera and don't talk to anyone on the custodial staff about it. Play dumb.

The principal and/or teachers union rep has a mailbox cubby in the main office. Slip an anonymous note in there saying that you've witnessed this custodian stealing items. They'll probably start some sort of internal investigation or set up cameras on their own. Keep doing your job and if a higher up speaks to you about it then go ahead and tell them you've seen it.
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Old 09-29-19, 12:44 PM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
It takes 5 people 8 hours to clean one elementary school?
It took Alan five years to clear a two foot path to his front door.
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Old 09-29-19, 01:41 PM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Forget all this cloak and dagger shit. Go to your boss ASAP and tell him you had to go back to your locker the other day after work and saw your coworker dragging trash bags to his car. Tell your boss you don’t know what’s going on and you don’t want to get anyone in trouble but you’ve heard rumors around the school that stuff was going missing and you wanted to let him know what you saw.

Its as as simple as that. Chances are the school already suspects he’s stealing stuff (he doesn’t seem to be very sneaky about it) so best to make sure you let your boss know. If he chooses not to do anything to your coworker or if he tries to punish you then you’ll have complaint to the higher ups. If you want to be a spy, then set your cell phone to audio record your conversation with your boss. That way you’re covered if he tries to throw you under the bus.
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Old 09-29-19, 02:42 PM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Originally Posted by Dr. Mantle View Post
Why? This guy doesn't give a shit about your job, so why are you protecting his? And he gives even less of a shit about the students and teachers he's stealing from. ...

This term "rat" is kind of pathetic and disgusting. Why is there a rodent insult (or any insult at all) associated with people who go to the authorities about crimes being committed?

The fucking bullshit "blue wall of silence" is the reason crooked cops get away with so much. The other cops don't want to "rat" on one of their own. They'd rather protect a criminal than do their job.

I don't know what your specific job requirements are, but I'm betting "don't look the other way on crime" is part of it.


But hey, if none of that convinces you, maybe this will: This guy will throw you under the bus in a second. WHEN they catch him, they'll probably offer a lighter sentence if he tells who else was involved. He already TRIED to involve you. OR, they might get him on video stealing, and you watching him steal and doing nothing.
I agree. "Snitches are bitches who end up with stitches" is for idiots. I am going to do what it takes to keep my job.
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Old 09-29-19, 04:11 PM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

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Old 09-29-19, 04:35 PM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Keep your job. Be the whistleblower. Put an anonymous note, with enough pertinent facts, dates, and times, and items mentioned that the pricipal will know that it's not a hoax. Why you are protecting your asshole coworker is beyond my comprehension. In the end, you will be better off for having reported him. Do it soon. Your taxdollars and salary are at risk!
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Old 09-29-19, 04:36 PM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Originally Posted by zyzzle View Post
Keep your job. Be the whistleblower. Put an anonymous note, with enough pertinent facts, dates, and times, and items mentioned that the pricipal will know that it's not a hoax. Why you are protecting your asshole coworker is beyond my comprehension. In the end, you will be better off for having reported him. Do it soon. Your taxdollars and salary are at risk!
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Old 09-29-19, 06:34 PM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

"Co-worker is committing crimes and asked me repeatedly to also commit crimes. What do?"

and this place is FREE? Amazing.
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Old 09-29-19, 07:42 PM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

Can I hijack the thread? I have been solicited to murder someone for money, just wanted to see what y'all think?

But yeah, I wouldn't risk my job to protect an asshole, short answer. If you get fired because of this, are you going to kick back and think, I'm sure glad I helped that criminal get me fired!

I think going to the Principal is a good idea.
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Old 09-29-19, 08:43 PM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

I've been in the position of reporting co-workers to management. The whole night shift united against me as the bad guy. It sucked.

After a while, all those guys got fired in a single house-cleaning. They hired a whole new team. By that time, I was in a different department.

As for "ratting out" another employee, you have to decide who is the bad guy here. Is it the guy who works beside you and who steals from the teachers, or is it the manager who would fire him for stealing? I know some teachers, and they aren't rich. That money he stole probably means a lot to them.

There is already a stink coming from the custodians, and people are noticing it. You're getting closer and closer to trouble because of what he's doing. You have his back by not reporting the thefts. Is he the kind of guy who'll have your back by giving you money if you get fired?

Me, I would turn him in.

Are you unionized? Is there a union rep you can talk to?
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Old 09-29-19, 09:20 PM
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Re: Dilemma: Thief at the Workplace Puts all Jobs at Risk... What Would You Do ?

The longer you wait, the more complicit you are for not turning him in. Please act on your knowledge.
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