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Boss Upsets Coworkers After Firing Employee For Peddling Her Pyramid Scheme Products On The Clock

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Most of us can say that our favorite work activity is not firing other people, or even having to write them up for something they did wrong.

Some of us even go out of our way to make it so that the firing doesn’t have to happen.

But sometimes even that doesn’t change the outcome, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor ManagerialThrowAway was recently in this difficult position with one of his employees.

When his remaining employees shared their criticism, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he did all that he could.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for firing a person who was ‘just trying to make a living’?”

The OP had a hardworking employee. 

“I (30 [Male]) am a general manager at a big-box retailer (think Walmart, Target, Best Buy) and have been for about a year, though I’ve worked here for a total of 5 years.”

“I’ve had this employee who has been great, I’ll call her Sam. Hard worker, been with the store for 3 years.”

But that changed when she joined a multi-level marketing business (MLM). 

“But recently, she’s joined some sort of MLM. Don’t remember the exact one, something like Terrad? Idk (I don’t know), some essential oils company.”

“Anyways, I’ve been getting complaints from customers and other employees, saying that she’s been pushing her oils while helping and talking to them.”

“I had a talk with her about it.”

“She apologized and said she wouldn’t do it again.”

The OP had to make a tough decision.

“That was about a month and three talks ago.”

“The complaints haven’t stopped, so I talked with the store manager (big boss).”

“Last week, we let her go.”

The rest of the staff didn’t take it well.

“Well, since then, other employees have complained to me that it wasn’t right, that she was ‘just trying to make a living.'”

“While I understand that, it’s strictly against our policy to run a side-business while you’re working (and to my knowledge, it’s that way with most stores).”

“Plus, we sell essential oils, so by doing this, she’s directly interfering with our business.”

“So, AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the employee was given plenty of chances. 

“Not the a**hole. If my boss caught me peddling a side business at work, I wouldn’t even have a warning. I would be gone that instant.”MonkeyKing_Sunwukong

“NTA. Before you talked to her the first time, I’m sure she was aware what she was doing was wrong, especially if you are selling the same-ish product in the store.”

“Then you talked to her about what she was doing. She knew, without a doubt now, that her actions were wrong. She said she’d stop.”

“She didn’t. And from your post, you say more talks happened. She persisted with trying to sell her products while at work, knowing she was doing something against company policy, and knowing she told you she would stop.”

“She was justly fired. It sucks, and maybe she needs the job badly. But she didn’t treat you with respect or stop her behavior.”

“Think of it this way: do you want to keep on payroll a known liar? Someone whom you can’t trust? If she’s doing this, over and over again, what other rules was she breaking?”

“We’re all trying to ‘make a living.’ But you can’t make a living by lying to your boss over and over again.”

“Your other employees may miss her. Empathize with them on that. But don’t let them say it was wrong what you did. What she did was wrong.”guy_in_wisconsin

“I doubt she cared about being professional and likely was just using that job as a way to increase the number of potential customers she was exposed to.”

“She was hurting everyone else who worked there, and was given ample warning. A lot of places would’ve fired her on the spot at first offense.”TellSomebodyIt_

“NTA. You gave her ample warning. If she wants to earn extra money on the side, that’s fine, plenty of people work multiple jobs, but when she’s on shift with you, that is her job. Not her MLM not any other side job.”

“And an MLM of all things are easily scheduled outside of work hours so they aren’t interfering with her work, which it obviously was.”Galilee5717

Others questioned how the former employee thought this was acceptable behavior. 

“NTA – if she’s on the clock for the job you have her hired for, she doesn’t need to be talking about her side hussle MLM.”

“There’s a time and place, but while she’s on the clock isn’t the time to be talking about her essential oil.”EvocativeEnigma

“Her badgering customers puts everyone’s job in danger if word gets around you’ll be pressured into sales and business in that store drops off. If it’s a small town or there’s local Facebook groups it doesn’t take long, just one person to say something and the floodgates open and their reputation is tarnished.”

“OP gave them more than enough chances to change their conduct but they decided they didn’t want the job.”raya__85

“I know if I was accosted by a person pushing their MLM each time I walked it, I’d go somewhere else. I even do that with businesses with associates who are aggressive in their constant approach for sales from their own store, so if it weren’t even from that store, I’d be avoiding that for sure.”JuryNo7670

“NTA. The employee was informed that they could not sell their product on work time and subsequently decided to do it anyway. Sucks to be her, but MLMs suck in general.”

“Not your problem that she wouldn’t keep her side hustle out of the office, but it’s time theft and interfering with the business of the company, not mention theft of clients if she’s redirecting them to a private sale/harassing them to buy her product.”pdxflwerpwer

The OP later updated his post, feeling more confident in his decision.

“It’s easy to think you’re the a**hole when you’ve got a dozen or so people, that you’re rather close with, telling you that.”

“But it’s easier to think otherwise when you’ve got, what, ~400 people saying you’re not.”

“Thanks to everyone for your judgment on this. I really appreciate you all.”

While the OP’s employees didn’t agree with his position, and though he had misgivings about the decision himself, the subReddit affirmed the OP had judged correctly. Mixing side hustles in with companies is never a good idea, even simply for customer comfort, let alone competing products.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.