As the general manager of a fine-dining restaurant, I am responsible for managing the employees, ensuring that the restaurant is financially sound, and reporting the truth to the company’s owner. Nepotism is common in every industry; business owners often place their friends and relatives in coveted positions. In this case, the owner has asked me to give his son a job so that he can be prepared to take over the company someday. Rather than viewing it as a learning experience, he has taken the opportunity to steal from the restaurant. The decision I am now faced with is this: firing the boy might put my own job at risk since his father is clearly unaware of his true nature. If I allow the boy to continue working at the restaurant, I am going to lose cash and inventory and ultimately, the owner will fire me anyway.
My decision is to focus on the bottom line of the restaurant. As long as the restaurant is losing money, I am not doing my job to the best of my ability. If I do not fire the boy, the other employees will become resentful – after all, if he is allowed to steal, why aren’t they? Employees work harder when they know that everyone is held to the same standards. It is likely that the owner needs a reality check about his son and his son’s proclivities towards stealing. Clearly, he is not working at the restaurant to gain experience and to prepare to take over one day. I would not fire the boy outright because the owner deserves a warning as well as the opportunity to fire his son himself. I would first set up a meeting with the company’s owner in which I would show him the tapes of the boy stealing from the restaurant. In addition, he would receive financial reports showing the losses since the boy began working, as evidence of the thefts that were not caught on tape. I would tell him that the boy is to be fired, and he can do it himself, or he can allow me to do it. Rather than placing blame, I would focus on the fact that the restaurant, and ultimately the owner, will lose money as long as this boy continues to work for me.
In light of the current poor economy, it would be even more crucial for me to fire the boss’s son. First of all, the thefts reduce the company’s income and thus, its ability to keep employees in their jobs. In addition, restaurants are losing money as more and more patrons are staying home in order to save money. Firing the owner’s son would not only prevent further losses, but would allow me to hire someone in his place who will probably work for less money and who would not steal from the restaurant.
I am aware that firing the boss’s son could be the beginning of the end for me. No parent wants to find out that their children aren’t as wonderful as they think they are, and parents who have money and status are no different. There are two possible outcomes of my decision. First of all, the owner might see the evidence of his son’s theft and realize that his son is stealing from him as the company’s owner, and not from me. Rather than risking further losses, the owner would probably fire his son and deal with him in his own way. A stricter parent would ensure that the money is paid back in a reasonable amount of time. An even stricter parent would be amenable to calling the police, as we would with any other employee. A more likely scenario is that the owner is going to be furious when he finds out what his son has been doing, and he will probably remove his son from the restaurant and place him somewhere else. In the meantime, our relationship will be irrevocably damaged, since I know a bit more about his family than he is comfortable with. I could probably expect him to either find a reason to fire me or demote me to a casual-dining restaurant in order to keep the information about his son quiet. In that case, I would try to find a new job in order to get away from my boss’s family situation.