*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I had been working at a small office for about a month when I met Molly, one of the other employees. She was quiet and reserved, but from what I could tell she was a nice person. I soon learned that Molly lived with her mother and their two dogs. They didn't have any modern luxuries such as cell phones or landlines.
If they needed to make phone calls, someone else's phone was the only option.
One night after work, Molly stopped by my office and asked if she could borrow the phone for an hour or two. In hindsight, something seemed off that night but I dismissed it and said yes. Over the next few days, Molly became a regular presence in my office with her mom joining her as well each time. They would go into my office, shut the door behind them, and take turns making phone calls while I worked in the main office area.
It wasn't until months later I discovered why they were so adamant about using the phone in my office. They were making long-distance phone calls.
I learned about the long-distance calls after the boss confronted me about making costly phone calls from my work phone and asked how I'd like to pay the charges. I was furious: I could feel my face grow hot as I figured out what had happened.
I immediately told the boss about Molly and her mother swinging by after Molly's shift had ended or on Molly's day off. I told her the dates and times of the pricey phone calls corresponded with their visits to use the phone in my office and welcomed her to ask Molly directly.
Molly readily admitted she and her mom had made the phone calls, but things easily could have taken a different turn.
My boss told me if Molly hadn't confessed, the company would have held me responsible for the phone bill since the calls came from inside my office during my shift. Furthermore, she said if Molly had refused to pay, they'd still hold me responsible.
You're responsible for anything that happens while you're at work. That includes other people's phone calls.
I felt incredulous. I couldn't believe the boss was still hanging onto the idea that I was somehow to blame for someone else's actions.
Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, she started talking about it being a "fireable offense." I nearly quit on the spot.
What do you think? If the boss already knew who had made the calls, and the culprit had admitted to the infraction, then was there any need to threaten me with being fired? I certainly don't think so. Comments are welcome.
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