Clinic Stories

It Takes A Thief

An employee who was on board when we bought North Jersey Animal Hospital in 1992 seemed to be the ideal – the first to work every day, very engaging with the clients, always helpful. However the cash was always short on her shift. Then we seemed to run short on certain supplies. Then someone arriving early caught her loading dog food into her trunk – she said she was going to invoice it and pay for it. But after three more caught in the act events of walking out with supplies she was fired. It turns out that each weekend she had a table at a flea market where she sold pet food, flea and tick medications and other supplies, making an excellent mark up. She filed for unemployment and I objected saying that she was caught repeatedly stealing and that on pet food alone our profit increased $1000 per month after she left. She was denied unemployment.

She then filed for temporary disability. Despite living in a one bedroom apartment with multiple cats, dogs and birds, she claimed to have left our office due to pet allergies. I filed a written protest but with a doctor's note stating that she had severe animal allergies forcing her to leave her job, she was given temporary disability.

Less than a year later I stopped by a local animal hospital to borrow something and there she was, working behind the desk. While she may have gotten over her allergies, I doubt she recovered from her sticky fingers.

Another employee was looking forward to a trip to Atlantic City. When she showed up for work the Monday after AC she was crestfallen. She received a student loan check just before leaving and had lost the entire amount gambling. When I told a lawyer friend he suggested that I watch her closely as losing gamblers are often embezzlers. I watched but while the loss may have impacted her life, it did not impact her work.

Nearly all employees are trustworthy and cameras have made it easier to trust. Cameras don't work as well on allergies.

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