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Question
Posted by: Pete | 2008/06/27

Not a question for CS – but need advice

I have a domestic worker, aged 56, coming in 3 days a week, working for us for 3 years. It is just me and hubby in a 3 bed townhouse, we pay R100 a day + transport. She gets lunch, coffee, tee, a chicken each Friday and all the left over food, old clothes, etc. She works from 8h00 to 16h00, but can leave as soon as her work is done. Last year we paid for her son’s funeral, we had her eyes tested and bought her glasses and we are now considering building her a house in Hammanskraal. All in all, I think we are treating her quite well and she does not work very hard. Up to now she was quite dependable, coming in every day, and did not steal. However, a while ago I caught her doing her family’s washing at my house, using my time and resources and I reprimanded her about that. A while ago I accidentally left R120 in my jeans pocket, and it was gone after she did the washing. I asked her about it and she said that she has not seen it. This happened again this week (R30). I asked her about it afterwards, merely saying it is missing, and could she look for it. Needless to say, it is gone again. I know she took it, and I know that it is not much – but I am mad about it because I think it is stealing and we are very good to her. I do not want to fire her, because she is dependant on us, but I also do not trust her anymore. What should I do?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Before anyone starts another race war over this, I think the issues here are abou employer and employee. IF any employee did this within an ordinary business, they would have already received 2 warnings towards dismissal. It is only fair to make it clear to her what you suspect and why, and why this is so upsetting to you, and give her a chance to explain this and respond to these concerns. Once could be a mistake --- maybe the money got washed and damaged and discarded, or mislaid elsewhere, twice is more important. Interestingly there was a recent American musical about this very theme, against a civil rights background, in which a maid was unjustly accused, called "Carolyn or Change".

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Our users say:
Posted by: anon | 2008/06/27

Personally i will make her very much aware that you know there is stealing happening, just so she knows..becuase the stealing is gogin to go on. As good as your are to her, she has no right to start taking things wihout asking. Thats the problem with us we put too much of trust in our maids and sometoimes as hard as it is we have to be stern sometimes just so they know here to draw the line. Today its somethign small tomorrow might be something big.
i just think its nonsence that we have to tolerate the behaviour and still be good to them. Dont steal from the hand that feeds you.

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