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Topic: Seeking some adult guidance on a work altercation

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Tanukichisama
 
Name
Blue
ACNL Town
Last Active
2/26 8:47pm
Hi, all,

I'm eighteen years old. When I moved into the city, I left my job at a small cafe and transferred to another small, independent cafe. When i left my first job, the owner gave up her ownership and gave the business to a former coworker of mine.

I haven't heard much from the business lately, but I've heard that it's going well. A former work friend of mine has recently dropped out of college due to her mother cutting off her funding and not allowing her to come home, which has left her in need of money. She moved in with her boyfriend, and has started to work back at the restaurant (Restaurant A, where I first worked).

We have been work friends since I was sixteen years old and started to work there. She has told me extremely personal issues about her childhood, about issues, about life in general. She's honest with me-- even the ugly, awful things that I don't agree with.

Yesterday she stopped by my house and expressed concern because $150 was shorted from the register at the end of the day (she opened that day so was not present when they counted the money). She says the new owner's husband pulled her aside and told her that although her "money is tight" right now, he thinks that she stole the money from the resister. She was angry and upset that he would accuse her, especially after the owner was such a close coworker to her before she obtained the business.

Today in the morning, she has messaged me stating that she has been fired and banned from ever entering the restaurant again. Although we have no security, they say that there were "witnesses" (no names, or mention if it was a coworker or customer) that saw her take the money. She is in the midst of a depressive episode from this and is on the verge of freaking out because this could turn into a serious legal issue and she has NO money to her name.

I was very close with the new owner as a coworker and she respects me, since I was the right-hand of the previous owner and closest to her, and I know how the restaurant works the most of everyone. Even after I left she continued to ask me for advice. The question is: should I contact her and tell her that Vern and I talked the day before, and I truly, honestly believe that she didn't do it? Or should I let it be?

If I let it be, this will ruin her reputation. She might have trouble finding another job, and she's been banned from the cafe that she has loved, adored, and worked at for over three years. She is the most dedicated employee I know and she was so brutally, unbelievably honest. My only hope is that once she is gone, the owner does not tell the other employees, and if the register is shorted again, she will realize that it was not Vern and apologize.

Regardless, even if the owner apologizes, Vern has stated that she is no longer comfortable keeping in contact with the owner or ever working with her again. And I don't even know if I feel comfortable going there now that I know what's happened. The owner, to be blunt, has always been a little misguided and gullible, when we worked together as servers. It's just her way.

Thank you so much for reading. I really, really need help on this.
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Superpie
 
Last Active
2/8 10:32pm
I once had a cute coworker get fired from stealing from the register. She stole a couple grand though and they had video footage of her stealing the money. They led her out in handcuffs and she was banned from one of the biggest malls in the region. It really was a shame, because she was really well-liked in my department but had/has some serious problems.

I'm surprised they'd fire her without any evidence over just $150. Not sure there's anything she can do about it though.
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Tanukichisama
 
Name
Blue
ACNL Town
Last Active
2/26 8:47pm
Unfortunately, it’s a small business and the new owner has had no business owning experience. They’re also in a tight financial situation so I suppose that they’re a little sensitive on the issue.

My hope is that, at the very least, they discover it’s not her an apologize so she can put that back on her resume. It’s her only work experience. She’s worked there since she was fifteen.
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GavinGoneGlobal
 
Name
Gavin
ACNL Town
Last Active
1:53am
Ultimately, you should ask your friend what she wants you to do. Keep in mind that there are three possible outcomes:

• The owner says "You're right, but [so-and-so] said they saw her, and my hands were pretty much tied", and you get some good closure to pass on to your friend.

• The owner respectfully asks you to stay out of it.

• The owner gets angry and assumes that your friend is encouraging people to call the cafe to get her her job back, and makes the situation more awkward/tense than it already is.

You should simply ask your friend if you'd like to step in and help, but certainly don't do it if she doesn't want you to, in case things do get worse. The last thing you want is to put more pressure on her.
"My hope is that, at the very least, they discover it’s not her an apologize so she can put that back on her resume."
Be very careful about this! Let's say the owner does apologize and un-bans her from the cafe. Then, your friend applies for a new job with the cafe as a reference, and they call the owner of the cafe, and say "Why did she leave?" If the owner mentions, even innocently, "Well, I thought she stole from the register, so I fired her, but I have no real proof, so it probably wasn't her", that's going to be a huge ding against her. The future employers might prefer someone with no work experience instead of someone who was accused (even falsely) of stealing from the company. She'll have to think very hard about whether she trusts the owner (with no ownership experience), assuming she gets an apology at all.
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yankees24cano
 
Name
Cano
ACNL Town
Last Active
9:11am
First off, I don't think the situation is as bad as you think. There's no way this will turn into a legal issue if there were cameras and few/no witnesses, and if she didn't do it, few people will testify that she did.

I also don't think that this history is going to make it impossible for her to find another job. She can leave it off her resume and people will assume she just wasn't working then or was working various small jobs.

"If the owner mentions, even innocently, "Well, I thought she stole from the register, so I fired her, but I have no real proof, so it probably wasn't her", that's going to be a huge ding against her."
If the owner does apologize your friend can talk to her and make sure she will be supportive of her in finding a new job. The owner could phrase it as "I wrongfully fired her for a situation I didn't understand and after I found out the full story, she didn't feel comfortable working here anymore". Plus many employers are very careful about giving references to prevent legal liability. I know my previous employer has a policy not to do anything more than give dates of employment and a job title.
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rollergirl
 
Name
Sam
ACNL Town
Last Active
12/30/2018 6:19am
I would like to reply more to this but don’t have a lot of time, so I will share something important that I learned as HR and just advise that everyone else that has posted has made some really good points. Legally, if you use a previous work experience as a reference, they are not able to say anything bad about you, no matter what reason you (or in this case your friend) was fired for. When I was HR for a company we had people steal from us, hurt other employees, etc., but by legal obligation couldn’t say anything bad if another company called in asking for a reference.

So long story short, don’t worry about her using the company as a reference.. if they say something bad about her that costs her a job they can be in serious legal trouble. Whether the accusation is true or not. I hope that puts your mind and hers a little more at ease.
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GavinGoneGlobal
 
Name
Gavin
ACNL Town
Last Active
1:53am
"Plus many employers are very careful about giving references to prevent legal liability. "
"but by legal obligation couldn’t say anything bad if another company called in asking for a reference."
I'm not sure where OP lives, but I live in Virginia, and past employers are legally allowed to say why someone quit/was fired, as well as how they performed as an employee, as long as they aren't trying to mislead/lie (in which case it falls under defamation laws). In the example I gave, it would be honestly answering the question and not crossing into defamation.

Obviously it depends on the country/state you live in, but it's something to keep in mind.
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Tanukichisama
 
Name
Blue
ACNL Town
Last Active
2/26 8:47pm
I live in Maryland, but in terms of the reference issue, it’s never been something I’ve had to worry about, hence why I’d never looked it up.

Thanks for all the advice— she asked if I could casually ask if she was working a shift anytime soon,  then try to innocently  see if Traci would let on as to  why she “left”.

As I said before, it’s a very tight-knit working community and I was pretty well respected when I worked there, so given I worded it right, I don’t think that there would be any reason the owner (Traci) would get angry at me for asking.

As far as I know, no new developments have been made. I just worry that she’ll hace trouble finding a job in the future because of this (lack of a reference or a bad reference). She’s already been through enough recently without being accused of theft, honestly. I’ll see if I can stay out of it for a few days and if nothing chabges, I’ll see if I should move forward and do anything. Ultimately. I don’t work there anymore so it’s not my problem, but Vern is easily one of my best friends, and I am very close to Traci. They were so close before this.
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slrandall
 
Name
MissSue
ACNL Town
Last Active
6:10am
She needs to contact the local labor dispute office and file a complaint that she believes she was wrongfully terminated.

They will work with her to investigate the situation and obtain all the facts/proof that they claim they have against her.
If none can be produced, then she can get advice to sue for wrongful termination. Monetary compensation for lost wages. And defamation of character.


This is the best route for her to take is she really wants to go after them

Hope this helps and prayers for your friend and for you for being such an awesome friend to them
We can use more people like you in the world.  
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Tanukichisama
 
Name
Blue
ACNL Town
Last Active
2/26 8:47pm
Thank you. I keep checking in on her and she’s picked up more hours at her very spotty second job, but I’m not sure if she intends to fight this issue or not. I’ll lay out some options that you put out there, though, since I’m not sure if she would know about them.
Also thank you for the compliment
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GG Off Topic Board » Topic: Seeking some adult guidance on a work altercation

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