Last week I had one of the most difficult days of my life.
I found out that a woman who has been working with me for the past three years was stealing from me, disclosing confidential company information to competitors, and bad mouthing me. This was a woman who started with me as a $12/hour employee and worked her way up into the role of a $4,000/mo. Contractor who I was coaching into her own business that could have had limitless potential.
And, despite all that, i agonized over the decision as to whether to fire her because she’s 9 months pregnant.
It all started when I was sitting with her at her desk and could tell there was something in her email she didn’t want me to see and I glimpsed the name of one of the attorneys that had previously been working with my law firm and seeing clients.
That night, I accessed her email and spent the next 5 hours reading through a years worth of emails that had me horrified.
Going all the way back to early 2007, it appears she had been emailing confidential firm information to her stepmother, also a lawyer. And, even though I was paying her a guaranteed minimum because she said she wasn’t yet getting work from other law firms, it turns out she was taking work from the other law firms, not paying a referral fee and using our supplies (including our Fedex shipping number!) to do work for those other law firms!!
The truly sad part is that if she had just been honest, it would’ve all been hunky-dorey. Well, ok, not the part about emailing confidential information to her stepmom; that wouldn’t have been ok.
But, I always wanted her to work for other lawyers. I had spent hours with her preparing her to go into business on her own. For some reason, though, she lied about it and now, at 9 months preggo, she’s seriously comprised her ability to earn an income.
Worst of all, now that we’ve gone through all her files it appears that she’s been fake-working for the last several months. There was lots of work that was just not done. This has not been one of my favorite weeks to be an entrepreneur, that’s for sure.