What is shame? Shame is an emotion or an intellectual state or condition. It's that part of the conscience having to do with persuading oneself to do that which is right. Shame keeps us honest. In today's post a question is posed showing a gross display of one lacking shame. The online dictionary defines shame as a painful feeling that arises from our consciousness of doing something dishonorable, improper and ridiculous. Shame is about disgrace or at a minimum regret. A person without shame is one whose character is lacking. In this instance, it's really lacking.

As those who read this column know, I'm often asked questions that I choose to use for blog posts. Today's question is one reminding us that molding the character of young children requires proper instruction, allowing them to experience failure and then teaching them how to raise themselves above disgrace and to transform from being a loser to being able to stand in the winner's circle. Telling yourself you're a winner doesn't make you one. Now, let's get right to the question and answer. Know that I've revamped the question to make it more easily understood.

Question: Should a company fire a worker the first time management discovers an employee is punched in, but not working? If the employer doesn't fire the employees the first time it's discovered, can other employees who are later found doing the same thing able to claim immunity from being fired? If fired can these employees sue the employer for some sort of discrimination?

My first thought is, God help us all. The world is going to hell in a hand basket.

Answer: I've rephrased the question in a way you probably meant to ask it. The way you presented the facts makes me wonder what and why you're asking it. The quick answer is an emphatic NO, you stole, were caught and fired and that's a valid reason to fire you. It's no excuse that the employer may have showed leniency on previous occasions with other employees.

If this case came into my office I certainly would not take the case. There are several reasons why I'd reject it.

First, stealing is wrong and I don't see any reason why the employer would not fire someone who was stealing from the company? If they didn't fire them it wouldn't be long before the company were unprofitable and went out of business.

The commodity you're stealing is called money; not time. When you cash a pay check based on a false time card it's literally stealing money.

You mentioned stealing time and how you were stealing time isn't really clear to me. Since I don't have the opportunity to ask you for clarification, I'll use my creative license and make an assumption about what it is you're asking me. An employee who punches in (is on the clock) or has another employee who punches in for a co-employee who isn't working, are both stealing but it's not just time they're stealing. The commodity you're stealing is called money; not time. After all I'm not sure you can really steal time, since time isn't something you can physically take off the premises. If you waste my time I say you've stolen my time, but that's more of a figurative form of speech or, an opinion, not really a fact. It's fraudulent to take a paycheck for time you did not work. Workers are obligated to work in such a way as to advance the employer's business interests. You're hired to work in the employer's business, to help the employer make a profit so that they can stay in business. The entire workforce for that employer counts on you to do right not just for the employer but for all your fellow workers. You owe honesty to each other as well as to the employer. Stealing time, as you put it, is really about stealing resources or in the end, M-O-N-E-Y. When you cash a pay check based on a false time card it's literally stealing money.

If you're jealous of what the employer is perceived to make on your labor, then be jealous, but don't steal from him. Instead, do what he or she did and start your own business. Stealing in this way is insidious and although to you it may seem minor, its still larceny. Those who are doing it have a huge character flaw; and make moving the business to China more likely and desirable.

How would you feel if when renting a DVD from the video store you discovered the DVD had nothing on it? Or what if it had only half the movie? Would you consider the video store should be excused or that it should be forced to give you a refund? Why them and not you with the employer? What makes your behavior excusable but the movie stores unacceptable? Stealing is stealing is stealing. Just because everyone is doing it doesn't make it right.


I've spend quite a few days discussing what I call the Participation Trophy Syndrome. It is being made to feel like a winner when the team lost the game. Boiled down to it's essence a participation trophy is really about stealing. The losing team is stealing the thunder from the team that put in the hard work and did win. As a former soccer coach I know that only losers want and will accept a participation trophy, winners want to win one. Handing out participation trophy's develops a malformed character where people expect to get paid just for showing up; rather than actually doing the hard work it takes to be a real winner and to earn that pay check.

Good God my man what are you thinking?

If you've stolen from the employer then do yourself a favor and pay it back. That will show more character and in the long term will do more to mold the type of character necessary to start and to run a successful business. And after you start your own business, you won't have to write to me to ask if you should fire the worker who is stealing your time.

Throw the participation paycheck away; be a winner and actually earn one. Then you won't be in the position of getting fired, because you'll be management material.

Here is a prime example of a bad character; a person lacking a conscience that triggers the concept of shame in making decisions that affected an entire country.

Is that clear enough?

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
Be the first to comment!
Post a Comment