Question: My business partner and I have a pizza place and there are about 10 under-age employees with us. Generally one of us is always there to ensure good service and discourage employee theft. One slow evening we left the store with our most trusted employee, a 21-year-old woman. A few weeks later we found out that this girl had closed the store and had given the crew beer from our tap. No one is allowed to give comps without our permission. They stayed and drank until they were plastered and drove home drunk. One of the older ones drove a 16-year-old employee home.
We are upset - not only could they have killed themselves or someone else, but we could have lost our business and been personally sued because of their foolishness. My first reaction is to call their mothers and to fire them all, taking the stolen money out of their checks. My partner is more of a pushover and wanted to talk to them and get the money. She does not want us to contact the parents and feels it isn't our place.If it isn't our place then whose is it? I feel we owe it to the community! These kids aren't thinking twice about drinking and driving. We have already let the 21-year-old go because she instigated the whole thing. But I feel we've been too soft on the kids and they haven't learned their lesson. Am I too much of a "mom"?
- Atlanta, Ga.
Dr. Laura: You may want to check with an attorney concerning the money issue - I'm not sure you have the right to simply withhold income. However, it is important that the parents be made aware of their children's actions so that they can deal with them appropriately. You are lucky that nothing tragic occurred. You might want to consider hiring more from the willing pool senior citizens, able handicapped, part-time single-parent adults, and so on. Frankly, I think you and your customers would be better served by having more responsible, adult co-workers around.
Question: Is it morally OK to ask for money to take care of my elderly grandmother? She has been wonderful to our entire family my whole life, but her three living children, and 13 capable grandchildren, choose not to give up anything in their lives to care for her daily needs - although they help financially.
I would have to give up working outside of the home three days per week, which pays for our health insurance and a start for our 9-month-old daughter's college fund. We already have a house with little mortgage, so living at grandmother's rent-free is not an advantage. My grandmother's son has asked us to move in with her and for me to care for her 20 hours a day, six days a week - and he would pay for someone on the seventh day.
My husband and I have agreed to do this if we are given a certain dollar amount of equity toward the purchase of her property for every year we care for her. If I were her only living relative, I would take care of her for nothing without a second thought; but I'm not the only one and I would feel taken advantage of without some compensation. Am I a creep?
- Lutz, Fla.
Dr. Laura: Not at all. Make sure that what your grandmother needs, and will need, can truly be taken care of by a non-professional. Determine in advance with her son that he will cover medical expenses and care should they become required. You have a small child who needs your loving time and attention - having you at home would be a plus all the way around; especially if grandma is able to play with the child, help you with her care and enjoy outings to the park, etc.
I think it is fair to work out compensation with her son in order to make up for your lack of employment and ownership of your own home. Have your uncle pool the resources of the three children and 13 grandchildren to come up with the appropriate funds. Don't be embarrassed by your grandmother being taken care of by a wonderful, loving family.