Hiding or omitting valuable information may seem to be a good option, but at some point be sure, the “Truth Will Always Come Out”. By Gary Shotton #000159
The Truth Will Come Out #2
By Gary Shotton
My name is Gary Shotton and I am a big part of “Inspiring Better Business”. This series is to help people do better in business and in the workplace. I am glad you’re here with me!
Today I’m going to talk about the subject “The Truth Will Come Out” and it originates from the fact that I’ve had two employees in the last 11 years involved in significant theft from me. These are people that worked for my company, worked and got a paycheck, and they stole something from us. The two people took a completely different stance on how to deal with it, and therefore there was a completely different end result regarding how things turned out.
Well, first of all, we are a fairly trusting company. We are not a company where we lock all the doors. Yes, we have a security system, but you know, a lot of people could come into our shop at various times and get away with something – outsiders. If you watch anything on the news you know that a lot of thefts happen from the inside. However, we do not have a lot of cameras inside our shop. We basically have an attitude of trusting people.
The first case involves a particular set of instruments that are rather small. They are mics, calibers, and some very special instruments we use for four or five things. These stolen items added up to about $2,500. From word of mouth and a tip we found out these devices were down at a pawn shop. So my plant manager and I went down to the pawn shop and sure enough, our instruments were right there. There was absolutely no question. These were clearly ours, with clear identification. We knew they were ours. We talked with a very nice pawn shop manager who was very helpful. He could have been much worse, but he has rules. The pawn shop manager has shown us a picture of the person that had come in with those instruments. That person’s name was also written down, and sure enough, it is one of our workers.
The next morning when this individual came in, we had a meeting, including three of us from management. I basically led the discussion. We tried to give all kinds of hints, even kind of suggested the night before that something has happened. When this employee came in he sat down and my first comment was, “Hey, have you got anything at all that you want to share with us? Anything at all that is bothering you or anything unusual going on?” He answered: “No, everything’s fine. We’re just doing fine. Everything’s really good at home and everything”. I responded and said: “Well, we’ve got a problem here; because we found that some of our instruments are down at the pawn shop. We saw your picture and your signature.” The employee was evasive: “oh! oh!”, he responded, and was fumbling with his words, trying to concoct excuses that would explain why he was in possession of those instruments by blaming it on others.
I responded and said: “You know, this is not very smart. Are you going to take the rap (blame) for somebody else in order to keep them out of trouble? It is at my discretion to decide if you get charged and have a felony on your record.” The employee was insistent: “Oh, no well … I didn’t take them, I didn’t take them!” So I just said: “Well I’m not a detective. I’m not paid to be the detective. I have plenty of work to do myself. I’m just going to call the police right now.” As I called the police, I had the employee hear me talking on the phone with them. I said: “Hey, we have this situation.” – and proceeded to describe the situation. “The person we suspect it is, is setting right here in front of me.” The employee heard me give the police their name. I said we’re sitting here. Right here. And it was a very short conversation. And they said they will take care of it from there. Well, after about 10 minutes comes to police officers rolling up to the front door. At this point the employee that was not being truthful to us starts confessing: “Oh, well, I did take the items.” “Well, did you take them or you didn’t you?” I responded. “No, I did take them”, he confessed again. I told him I was not the detective and he let us call the police. The police are here now so I went out to greet them and have a short conversation explaining the situation. The Police proceeded to interview the employee and promptly received a full confession
Now what is the point in this? The point is: Why in the world would you rob from your own company, and number two, what am I going to do about this? Am I just going to say: “That’s okay, just rob and take anything you want from me or somebody else?” No!! The real issue isn’t the theft. The real issue for me is that I cannot trust this person anymore. He continued to lie to me right up to the last minute. Then of course the employee said he kind of wanted to keep his job. Well, he’s been with us for seven years. He’s a good machinist and I could use him, but I cannot let that happen. I had to remind him that it took the police to show up for him to start confessing and even then we had to pry it out of him. That’s not very cool. The reality is, it was not the issue of the theft; the issue was that I cannot trust this individual anymore.
We have a policy to try to take people to restoration. If something goes wrong, especially something kind of idiotic like this, we’ll try to work something out. We weren’t sure how to do it. But we didn’t have to come up with anything, because he basically hung himself with a long enough rope.
Now, the second case involving employee number two happened about three years ago. I’m sitting quietly in my office in the afternoon and this employee knocks on the door and asks if he could come in and talk to me. He shuts the door proceeds to kind of squirm a little bit and pulls out a wad that had $800 in $100 bills and he said: “You know, I’m so sorry Gary, I succumbed to some pressure and I took something. It wasn’t the instruments. It was some metal that I took to the metal recycling company. It was some brass, and so it was real valuable. Here’s your $800.” He continued his confession: “You know… I know you could fire me. I really would appreciate if I could keep my job.” I ended up talking with my manager about this employee. He did steal, but I know he is okay.
Both employees stole from me. Both employees stole from the company, but one kept their job and I kept my respect for that one individual. For the first employee, that we had to pry the truth out of, I don’t have much respect for. It would take a while for me to respect that individual again. There would have to be a trial period and I can’t imagine it happening. He decided his own fate and called his own shot. The lesson learned here is not about whether to steal or not to steal. The revelation here is that I cannot trust a dishonest person. I cannot trust employee one who I had to pry it out of. I could trust employee two because of his honesty. He is no longer employed in my company, but left for other reasons. He continued to work another two or three years after this incident happened. Therefore keep in mind, that “The Truth Will Always Come Out”.
As a Christian, I know that God is my guide, my faithful companion, and the Spirit of God is with me. I’m not hiding anything from Him. I already know that occasionally I’ll talk myself into thinking that I can hide something. Then hold it. Why would I do that? Remember, The Truth Will Always Come Out. It’s not a matter of if, but rather a matter of when. If someone is tempted in an area of possibly showing disrespect for their spouse, or are messing around on with their spouse, or leans in a direction where they are into something immoral or illegal, remember that the Truth Will Come Out. It’s as sure as gravity. A weight will fall every single time to the ground. It is a basic law from God. I’ve used that for advice 30 years now, just remembering, “Hey, I feel a little tempted here … but the truth will come out.”
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