Remember the letter-writer earlier this year who inherited an employee, Mary, who had secretly brought her kids to work and forced an admin to watch them? Here’s the update.
I spoke to the admin before she left the company and she provided a schedule of when she had to watch the kids. I compared that to old timesheets that I convinced Finance to give me (more on that later) and confirmed that timecard fraud had occurred. Mary did not clock out when driving her kids to school. Thank you to the readers who pointed this out! Even after hearing this, my manager pushed for me to “rehabilitate” Mary and said that what was done was done and warned me that I was not allowed to fire Mary.
I decided if I couldn’t fire her, I’d lay her off. I assessed the drop in support requests from other departments since this drama unfolded and people stopped wanting to work with her, and found that we had a 82% reduction! Based on that, I started paperwork to lay Mary off due to lack of work in this position. When I presented the data, my boss still said we had to keep her but the COO (who has taken over since the CFO was put on sabbatical) agreed it was the right decision. Within two months of my letter, Mary was gone.
Back to the timesheet issue. When I was justifying Mary’s layoff to the COO and my boss, my boss vehemently disagreed with the decision and said that one issue wasn’t enough. Off the cuff, I mentioned the timecard fraud. The COO investigated after Mary had been laid off and determined that she should have been fired.
Because I accessed “private documents” from Finance, I was fired. (I was told by the finance manager that I have access to her current timesheets as her manager, but her past timesheets were “private.” I told him that was ridiculous and to give them to me anyway. I guess it’s a company policy because when I was fired, the COO specifically said the same policy.)
Because my boss tried to cover up the timecard fraud, he was fired.
After you ran my letter, I investigated the room the kids were hidden in. It’s a small back room we use to store extra furniture and the janitor’s cleaning chemicals (!). The room smells like pine sol and bleach even when the door is open and has no ventilation system or windows. It’s far from the bathroom and the youngest was still in diapers. Frankly, I don’t think this room is safe for kids and I don’t want to mother-blame or anything, but who would leave their kids here for 2-5 hours a week?! The only thing to recommend it is the fact that it’s by the back door no one uses (because the dumpster partially blocks the walkway to that door), which is how Mary was able to get her kids in and out with no one the wiser.
update: my employee secretly brought her kids to work and forced a coworker to watch them was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.