No one should tolerate employee theft.

I feel strongly compelled to address a recent situation in which I had the misfortune to experience employee theft, and a complete disregard for operational duties that inevitably resulted in copious amounts of lost revenue. I am currently aiming to provide essential information to other small-business owners near or far, and potentially caution them in a timely manner, and thus avoid lost earnings on behalf of this individual’s incomprehensible negligence. Furthermore, I would strongly urge dedicated customers who are present to such unlawful behavior of any employee to report them immediately to management or owner, whether this is in person or anonymously.

Recently, I terminated employment of an individual who admitted to stealing money, falsifying their time card, and purposely disregarding established daily operational procedures. As I write this letter, with countless hours of my time invested in preparing required documentation and money paid to consult with an employment disputes attorney, I am now being forced by our State to pay the amount this former employee embezzled because of two issues;

First, an employer must have an employee sign a document that details the reasons for immediate termination even if it is stealing, as our government apparently lacks occasional common-sense.

Second, the employer must call 911 to report the theft, despite the amount, and file criminal charges.

Communication (pertaining to verbal agreements with employees) is not permissible per the Labor of Industries rules and regulations, and therefore, if you do not follow these two procedures you will not be able to deduct from their final pay, and you will also be paying them the stolen revenues, validating not only their criminal behavior, but also empowering them to continue to prey upon their customers and their employers.

I am disappointed in myself for not recognizing the warning signs early on, as I have officially concluded that the theft went on for an obnoxious period of time. It is beyond difficult when you work side-by-side within a small crew (and of course, befriend your employees), to imagine that a long-time friend would orchestrate this type of prolonged betrayal.

I once considered this person a friend, whom I viewed as a notable individual, and an exceptional mother of young children. I went so far as entrusting them enough to care for my only grandchild, only to have this type of humiliation thrown in my face. Unfortunately, my friendship and my business were greatly compromised and I paid a considerable price, both financially and emotionally.

Smeads Pub has not, and will never tolerate this type of criminal behavior, and in the future will pursue these matters to the fullest extent of the state and federal law.  As a community Pub in Washougal, we understand that mistakes occur. However, this particular incident was calculated, premeditated, and was committed with malice.

I hope this information will be of assistance to other small business-owners so you will not suffer this same injustice. As for the individual, you will never again be welcome in my establishment, or my life.

Thank You,