Mentally disabled co-worker caught stealing

Mentally disabled co-worker caught stealing

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This is a discussion on Mentally disabled co-worker caught stealing within the Advice Center forums, part of the The Cafe Lounge category; My work place has a day program in which we take a few people with disabilities and provide them with ...

  1. #1

    Mentally disabled co-worker caught stealing

    My work place has a day program in which we take a few people with disabilities and provide them with certain jobs they can do for a year, which provides the people at the top with a nice and humanitarian way to save money. The job is not really physical, so when we are lucky we can get people with physical disabilities who can function the same as full time staff members, but the organization providing the program is fully opt-in or opt-out and we don't have much room to pick people individually.

    I manage the afternoon and night staff, and a big part of my job is resolving stupid drama and making sure everyone gets along and can work together as a team. It is fairly normal for people to leave things in the general hope of finding those things the next day, especially food. In the recent year I've gotten complaints of food items disappearing, couldn't really find out who is doing it and then people start accusing each other, which is bad for work, and frankly it kind of sucks going to work and finding out your lunch is gone.

    Yesterday I found out the infamous food thief is. Unfortunately she is a mentally challenged person from the disabled program who kind of has the mind of a 10 years old, I scolded her, though the "don't take other people things" message didn't seem to sink in as 20 minutes later I had to stop her from doing it again. I am not sure what to do beyond that, I am trying to be sensitive to her special needs but I also need to be sensitive to the completely reasonable needs of everyone else in my staff.



  2. #2

    Maybe let her know that there will be consequences for her actions? For example, if she steals again, you will dock from her pay? If this method still doesn't work, then I'll let the upper management know about it.

  3. #3

    have to mentioned this to anyone in H.R.?
    is it possible to talk to some one from her group home/care taker assuming she has one
    if she is as disabled as you mentioned i would not tell co workers it is she while she is still employed there
    UraniaIsis and Tropes thanked this post.

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  5. #4

    I think you're doing her a disservice for treating her differently than the rest of your team.

    If another person was caught stealing you would probably have them reported, right?

    I know it seems cruel to do that to a mentally disabled person, but they need to live in a society where same rules apply to all.

    I would report it to HR, taking care to be gentle about it, and highlighting the fact that you honestly think she just doesn't understand what she's doing is wrong.

  6. #5

    [QUOTE=Aridela;34487370]I think you're doing her a disservice for treating her differently than the rest of your team.

    If another person was caught stealing you would probably have them reported, right?

    I know it seems cruel to do that to a mentally disabled person, but they need to live in a society where same rules apply to all.

    not really, as stated in O.P. she has the mentality of a 10 y/o
    those with a mental disability that limits their I.Q. to that of a child are limited in learning proper societal etiquette
    plus the o.p can be held liable [sued] if the situation is not handled properly
    those with severe learning disabilities cannot be held to the same standards as the rest of society
    it is beyond their learning capabilities
    this is the reason why they cannot legally own a fire arm or possess a drivers license
    Last edited by Vinniebob; 03-03-2017 at 01:19 AM.
    angelfish, WickerDeer, deathcakes and 4 others thanked this post.

  7. #6

    [QUOTE=Vinniebob;34487426]
    Quote Originally Posted by Aridela View Post
    I think you're doing her a disservice for treating her differently than the rest of your team.

    If another person was caught stealing you would probably have them reported, right?

    I know it seems cruel to do that to a mentally disabled person, but they need to live in a society where same rules apply to all.


    those with severe learning disabilities cannot be held to the same standards as the rest of society
    it is beyond their learning capabilities
    this is the reason why they cannot legally own a fire arm or possess a drivers license
    A 10 year old knows stealing is bad.

    When I was five I stole some candy from a shop. My mom made me go back, paid for the candy and had me apologise to the shop owner.

    I was perfectly able to understand that if I steal candy I'd have to endure this humiliation again.

    Maybe the morality of 'stealing is bad' will elude her, but she'll learn not to do it again.
    Tropes thanked this post.

  8. #7

    [QUOTE=Aridela;34487586]
    Quote Originally Posted by Vinniebob View Post

    A 10 year old knows stealing is bad.

    When I was five I stole some candy from a shop. My mom made me go back, paid for the candy and had me apologise to the shop owner.

    I was perfectly able to understand that if I steal candy I'd have to endure this humiliation again.

    Maybe the morality of 'stealing is bad' will elude her, but she'll learn not to do it again.
    she is labeled as ''retarded''
    my guess is mildly and not severe as she is capable of working
    my guess is that you are not retarded
    years ago i worked for a state school [now known as arc, association of retarded citizens]
    not all of them are capable of morals/ethics hence the label as mentally challenged
    you cannot compare your childhood as a sane person to those with limited capabilities
    angelfish, deathcakes, Saint Savage and 3 others thanked this post.

  9. #8

    Do her caregivers know about it? You could discuss this with them to being with. There must be some consequences, but her colleagues could make her life really hard if they found out she was stealing from them.
    Vinniebob and Tropes thanked this post.

  10. #9

    [QUOTE=Vinniebob;34487650]
    Quote Originally Posted by Aridela View Post

    she is labeled as ''retarded''
    my guess is mildly and not severe as she is capable of working
    my guess is that you are not retarded
    years ago i worked for a state school [now known as arc, association of retarded citizens]
    not all of them are capable of morals/ethics hence the label as mentally challenged
    you cannot compare your childhood as a sane person to those with limited capabilities
    No, I'm not.

    But I've been friends with two girls with Down Syndrome and mild to medium developmental issues, when younger.

    I have no experience with severely retarded people, no. And if the worker in case is actually severely retarded then I would rethink my comment.

    But from my experience, children and adults with Down Syndrome are perfectly capable of understanding that some things are acceptable and some aren't. Hell, even dogs do.

    If we assume they don't we're basically saying that they can't really function in society and that would have even more detrimental effects for them.

    In the past, most villages would have their fair share of slowpokes, and they would give them simple jobs to do and contribute to society. Sure, they were treated like children but that doesn't mean they were not responsible for their actions. It's just that people were more lenient with them.

    I was acquainted with a Starbucks waiter with Down Syndrome when I lived in Nottingham, and he was one of the happiest workers I've seen. Even though it took him longer than average to take drinks to people and he wouldn't have access to handling the till, or making the beverages, you could see that he took pride in his work and he had an infectious smile every time I saw him. Now, I'm not the most social of people, but I really enjoyed small talk with this guy; he just made me feel better about life in general.

    Bottom line, I believe that if we exaggerate the hurdles of people with disabilities we are doing them a disservice, by basically robbing them of their chance at working and socialising like normal people do. It's definitely harder for them, but I think it's worth it.
    deathcakes, s2theizay, Tropes and 1 others thanked this post.

  11. #10

    This is an excellent discussion, I am hoping it will provide different consideration points for me to make a better decision by tuesday (My next meeting with upper management, HR will be there too).

    Quote Originally Posted by Aridela View Post
    But from my experience, children and adults with Down Syndrome are perfectly capable of understanding that some things are acceptable and some aren't. Hell, even dogs do.
    It's worth mentioning that she knew enough to attempt to lie about it. She tried coming up with a story of how she got a bowl of ramen that for some reason didn't include the obvious explanation (buying it), just didn't include the detail on how it got labeled with another co-workers name on the side, and why there's a hole in the co-worker's plastic bag, and couldn't contain sneaky laugher and admission when I asked her about it. It is like a sneaky child with a cookie, just in the body of a 21 years old.
    s2theizay, Saint Savage and Aridela thanked this post.


     
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