My brother is the assistant manager in a grocery store meat department, and yesterday he had the unfortunate experience of firing an employee. This particular employee had worked for the store for over 20 years, and was a little lady who had a propensity for taking the five finger discount on random things in the store.
Apparently, the assistant store director caught her stealing and eating a salad for lunch yesterday, and decided that the hammer must fall; and of course, my brother had the luck of being the supervisor at the time.
He was reluctant to have to fire an employee, but as he put it, “you just can’t steal.”
So the lady lost her job of 22 years over $1.42 salad. Kind of tragic, no?
Then on my way to work today, I learned of an investment banker in France who made fraudulent trades amounting 7.1 billion dollars in loss from Societe Generale. Apparently he was a rank and file employee, earning less than 100,000/yr, who might singlehandedly bring down an enormous financial institution.
I think he’ll get fired. He might face charges. A similar case in England landed Nick Leeson in prison for 6 years. You’d think a plummeting porfolio… you know… down by say… 7 billion dollars, would have thrown a red flag somewhere. Heck, if I lost 1 billion, I think I would want to know about it.
So whose crime was worse? Are both simply crimes of gross negligence? Or is there more to the story?
Surprisingly (to myself) I don’t have much commentary on either of these situation… except to say, “how tragic.”