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Ethics, Morals, and Friendship... What to do...

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I started working in my current job about 5 months ago and have never had any problems with any of the people I work with. For the most part, I consider myself to be fairly good friends with most of them. There is one co-worker in particular who (as far as I can tell) has been stealing products from the company since the store opened about 2 years ago.


Now comes to my dillema... The day after Thanksgiving he was finally caught stealing something and a decision is pending as to what will happen to him with regards to the company. He has concocted a fairly good story (he has managed to get out of quite a few situations in the past) which includes a cashier saying they sold him the item, a little story about how he forgot the item that day and was bringing it out the next day (when he was caught), and a witness or two (this is where I am concerned) who say that they were with him when he purchased the item. He also has a receipt (from where I have no idea) to backup his statements.


The store has been trying to "catch" him doing anything wrong for quite some time now, but the conditions of our particular work environment make it easy to hide things while nobody can see. At one point they tried switching the department he worked in, but ended up bringing him back with an approximately $2/hr. raise!!


At this point I think it is obvious that he will be fired whether he has been proven a thief or not. The only thing of concern is whether or not the police will get involved.


So do I:

a) say I was there when he purchased the item and potentially lose my job for lying.

b) tell the truth and potentially send my friend to jail.

c) tell my friend I'm staying out of it and potentially ruin a friendship and at the same time potentially send him away.

d) Other (please suggest other options)


While I do consider him a friend, I don't know that it's worth threatening my job over, especially if he will lose his job either way. But I do want to help a friend in need when I can. I also don't want to let him down by saying I won't help him.


Sorry if this post was a little hard to follow, but my mind is just going in circles trying to figure this thing out.

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I would stay out of it as much as possible. You know him, but everyone around him is also choosing to look the other way; and the whistle blower is often punished. Use very good common sense during this time, try not to be alone with him if that can be helped. If the management wants to go after him, they'll need to do so without the help of the front-line workers, so just do your duty and try not to add to the fire that is buring in any way shape or form.

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Alright, bottom line is that, from what I gather, he STOLE. Regardless of the circumstances or props he came up with to cover his butt, he stole from the company. Did he do it because he desperately needed whatever item it was he stole, because he couldn't afford it? I highly doubt it. This isn't the first occurrence of him stealing, so obviously he does it for the thrill and to see if he gets away with it. Well, now his dumb self has gotten caught.


Why would you possibly consider sticking up for this guy? He's stealing money out of YOUR pocket, you realize that, right? The things he's stealing are future profits you could be making, but he slipped 'em in his pocket. Not to mention that he's being paid honest wages for dishonest work.


So: are you going to stick up for this guy, and basically encourage the behavior he thinks is acceptable just because he can potentially get away with it? I sure as hell hope not. "If you can do the crime, you can do the time." Too true. I ABHOR people who scam off of other honest people, I really do. If he was starving and had no other choice, I might be a bit more lenient. But in this instance-I'm not, nor should you be. That basically tells him you think his stealing is alright with you and that you'll support it, if you lie for him, and I'm QUITE sure that's not your intent!!



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While I can understand that this is your friend and you hate to see anything happen to him, unfortunately he must face the consequences for his actions. Perhaps he will learn his lesson as that to date has not been happening.


Above all, do NOT lie. Thats not to say you need to come forward voluntarily with damaging information, but if they ask you then you should tell the truth. Otherwise they may fire you, or worse prosecute you for conspiracy to commit theft. I think you should tell your friend that you will support him, but will not lie for him.


If he is any kind of a friend he will respect that. If he doesn't, well thats a friendship you are better off without.


You might consider encouraging your friend to do the right thing and come clean on his own. I would personally be more likely to respect and support someone who will face the consequences of their actions by owning up to their mistakes. After all, if he admits he has a problem then perhaps he can get some help.

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Thanks for all of your support.


I got lucky and they never even came to me for "my side" of the story so I never had to make the choice. I would like to think that I would have been honest if they had come to me though.


Haven't heard or seen him since he was officially fired, so I'm not really sure what's going to happen in terms of police involvement and stuff, but I am definitely glad I didn't get involved.


Again, thanks for the support. You guys (and gals) are the best.

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