Update: is my cleaner stealing from me? Yes she is. WWYD?

(117 Posts)
SlowLooseChippings Wed 08-May-13 15:14:21

I posted a thread on here a few weeks ago, detailing my suspicions that my cleaner was stealing from me. I thought she might have been going through my wallet as I was missing a sum of money the day after going to the cash machine (not for the first time, I noticed it when I had taken out a large amount to pay for something specific) and separately noticed that a five-pound note was missing on the same day from the coin bowl we keep by the door - the one my husband empties his pockets into in the evenings.

What I did: let her know that I had noticed some money missing and asked her to please keep an eye out (I was very embarrassed and she has very little English so I'm not sure how much got through). Started paying her by bank transfer and stopped keeping cash in my wallet. Forgot about it for a little while.

Last week my husband came home from work and asked me if I'd taken money from the coin bowl. It's usually small change or a couple of quid in there but he had put £10 in pound coins in there and forgot to put it back in his pocket that morning. Gone. This week I emptied the little bowl of pound coins - I didn't count the whole lot of small change left behind, mostly coppers, but noted that there were four 50pence coins. Now gone.

So yes, she's pocketing the change. It can't go on, she doesn't have enough English to confront satisfactorily (and she has a key until next week when she goes away and the agency will take it to send me a replacement cleaner). She's warm-hearted and very very fond of my baby son. We are gutted at the thought that we may be about to ruin her life over £2, because she will lose her job. She's also a bloody good cleaner; I am not, and the replacements who have come from the same agency before were terrible. I don't care about £2 here or there. I do care when it adds up to £5 or £10 a week, and I do care that someone thinks they can help themselves.

Is there any way out of this? WWYD?

Beamur Wed 08-May-13 15:18:57

If she keeps stealing she'll end up getting rumbled by someone but I can sympathise that you don't want it to be you that does it.
I'd simply give notice to the agency and find another cleaner.

Emsmaman Wed 08-May-13 15:19:23

So she only has one more cleaning session left? I wouldn't want her to have keys to my place and wouldn't want her coming back. Tricky as you don't have actual proof so I probably wouldn't tell the agency the real reason why you don't want her coming for the last session, make up another reason.

However, I would have the nagging feeling that I should tell the agency my suspicions as otherwise, she is going to go on and do this to other families and it could potentially be avoided.

EasterHoliday Wed 08-May-13 15:21:32

you might want to ask the agency what reference checks / crb etc teh do on their cleaners. I had an issue with an agency once and was really shocked to discover that for their whacking great premium, htey barely investigate their employees

Dahlen Wed 08-May-13 15:22:09

Difficult, especially as you can't talk to her properly. There are no excuses for stealing but you sound as though you want to find out if there are mitigating circumstances, such as extreme financial hardship, etc.

The only thing you can do if you don't want to get her sacked is possibly give her a letter when you tell her you no longer require her services. SHe may not be able to speak English very well, but I'm sure she can plough her way through it or get a friend to read it to her. You could then say that you know she has been stealing from you, which is why you have ended her employment. You could tell her that you are considering telling the agency based on how she responds. Given the sum involved, an abject apology/repayment may be enough for you, but you also have to consider the danger to others who may wish to employ her in the future.

Difficult, as I say. I don't envy you. <unhelpful, sorry>

SlowLooseChippings Wed 08-May-13 15:23:19

I'm on a one-month notice period with the agency. She's due back after 2 weeks' holiday.

My husband says she is probably stealing stuff her other clients wouldn't miss too. She's a nice person, I don't want to be the one who causes her to lose her job. I wrote her a glowing reference last year.

Bricklestick Wed 08-May-13 15:23:31

Um, either empty the changebowl before she comes, OR ... ask the agency for a new cleaner.

LIZS Wed 08-May-13 15:24:46

Does she clean for others ? She is probably stealing from them too and that could add up over the course of a week. Is her English really so poor , I wonder .

SlowLooseChippings Wed 08-May-13 15:26:26

When she first came to me she was fresh off the plane from Bulgaria, no English. It's a bit better now but still not good enough to say anything other than clean here, Hoover there, change bed, thank you, see you next week.

So I'd be surprised if there were any background checks done since she doesn't have a background here, and I don't know if there are any corresponding ones in Bulgaria and if so how reliable they are.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 08-May-13 15:27:18

You have to tell the agency what you suspect. If you tell them you aren't accusing as you have no proof but you know money has gone missing. Please don't leave it for some other person to deal with.
I would also change the locks, this will be hugely inconvenient for you and costly but worth peace of mind.
She is a thief and can't be trusted. You need to have a really good check that nothing else has gone, she obviously feels as though you don't check your stuff as she has got away with it.

knittingirl Wed 08-May-13 15:29:01

I would ask the agency for a replacement, or give notice to the agency. I might let them know my suspicions, but make sure they know I hadn't actually seen her take something.

As lovely as she is, she is stealing money from you. I can't believe that she doesn't know that that is wrong, and totally unacceptable when she is in a position of trust where she has a key to your house.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Wed 08-May-13 15:29:24

Well, she isn't warm hearted, is she? She's a thief. She may be presenting as warm hearted, but a genuinely warm hearted person doesn't steal from you!

So don't worry about her one bit!

She's not a nice person. A nice person isn't a thief. Thieves get away with it by acting like nice people.

That's not the same thing as being a nice warm hearted person.

How would you cause her to lose her job? Are you nicking stuff?

The being a thief is what will cause her to lose her job. That's not your doing. It's hers

GreenEggsAndNichts Wed 08-May-13 15:29:25

Yes but the problem is, now it might just be the changebowl but she can't be sure. If she's alright with taking money from the changebowl she might find other things in the house she likes and decides to take. It's a trust issue, and I'm fairly certain I wouldn't be able to have her back.

Which is unfortunate as she sounds like she's good at her job.

YesIamYourSisterInLaw Wed 08-May-13 15:30:30

If I employed a cleaner who had stolen previously and the person had noticed but done nothing I'd be pissed.
Nice person or not you need to do something op, she can't be that kind if she's stealing. I remember your original thread and it was a lot more than a few quid she took

iloveweetos Wed 08-May-13 15:31:24

I'd just tell the agency. Harsh, but she is stealing. pocketing money on top of her wage through cleaning. we all have families and personal lives to support, but stealing to do so? i think not.
If that was me, i'd be expecting to get caught (as well as shit scared to do it in the first place)

RosinaCopper Wed 08-May-13 15:31:31

I can't comment on the money taken from your wallet, but is there any possibility that she might think that the money in a bowl near the door is a bit like 'tip' money. You know how in foreign public toilets there is still often a plate for change or tips. As it's cash, loose in a bowl near the door, could she possibly think it is meant for her? (I realise I am clutching at straws here, and I didn't read the other thread, but hoping for an honest explanation for you. It must be so difficult (or possibly convenient) that her english is so bad)

Jinty64 Wed 08-May-13 15:32:29

I old not have someone who was stealing from me in my house and I think you do need to tell the agency as she will do it to others. Could you find a private cleaner by word of mouth.

Hercy Wed 08-May-13 15:34:08

It's inexcusable. If you were to let the agency know she'd been stealing from you, they'd probably waive the notice period, as its gross misconduct, which warrants immediate dismissal.

I've had cleaners for years, and some have taken the piss with leaving way before they should when they thought it would go unnoticed and things like that. But I could never put up with a cleaner who stole from me. One of the most important things in a cleaner is them being trustworthy. They have access to all your possessions unsupervised.

No matter what financial hardship she may or may not be in, there is never an excuse for theft. If she's prepared to go through your wallet, who's to say she wouldn't be prepared to take one of your cards or some of your jewellery or other valuable things?

I would not have someone like that back in my house. If a friend stole from your house would you ever invite them back?

SlowLooseChippings Wed 08-May-13 15:36:21

When I paid her in cash I used to include a tip sometimes. I always left it in the same place on the counter, with her cash payment, very much apart from bowl on the hall table. I rounded up to the nearest five or ten.

I don't think you can reasonably expect a tip to be a different amount each week, and only consisting of the larger coins and not the small ones, which is itself buried under house keys and cufflinks.... clearly contents of someone's pockets. Shit.

treas Wed 08-May-13 15:37:26

Unfortunately, she is a thief, the agency should be told, she would have no one to blame but herself for losing her job.

Besides if she is stealing for you she is quite possibly stealing from someone else who could involve the police.

OscarIsABookworm Wed 08-May-13 15:38:33

She is a thief and you need to tell the agency, she could be doing it to others and they need to know. You might not even be the first, what if she did it to the previous clients and they didn't report her because she 'was nice lady', that left her open to steal from you.

I wouldn't have her come again and would also change the locks as you don't know if she has made copies.

You are being way too nice about this. Nice people don't steal.

McKayz Wed 08-May-13 15:38:58

You need to tell the agency. It's not fair on you and the other people she cleans for.

OnwardBound Wed 08-May-13 15:39:45

I was thinking the same thing Rosina...

It doesn't explain money missing from your purse but I did wonder if cleaner thought the change bowl near the door was where she was meant to collect her 'tip' from?

Hercy Wed 08-May-13 15:41:02

Frankly I'm shocked that she has done it on numerous occasions and AFTER you brought it up with her.

Due to the language barrier she might not have understood exactly what you said, but I'm sure she would have got the gist. Even just the word money should have rung alarm bells in her guilty conscience.

I could not have her back in my house again and I would also change the locks as someone else suggested.

YouDontWinFriendsWithSalad Wed 08-May-13 15:42:33

"If I employed a cleaner who had stolen previously and the person had noticed but done nothing I'd be pissed."

This. You really need to tell the agency.

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