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Opinions Wanted Employee now running his own shop from home...

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by DanPat, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. DanPat

    DanPat CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Hey guys! I haven't been here in YEARS! I'm going to try to frequent The Grumble more often in the coming months.
    I would really appreciate any advice on this matter:
    2 years ago, I hired an employee who had managed a large frame shop about 35 minutes from me. The shop he was managing had closed. When I heard about it, I contacted him and offered him a job which he gladly accepted.

    About 2 weeks ago, I found out that he was doing work from home on the side. I had suspected this, but wasn't too concerned, until I learned he was also doing work for a regular customer of mine. I started digging around the shop a bit, and learned that he was using my CMC to cut multiple opening mats for his own projects. There are a lot more details, but I don't have time to fill in all of the blanks right now.

    Has anyone here ever dealt with anything like this? How have you handled it?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions and examples!
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  2. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Moonlighting is bad enough but using your kit in the process is going too far.

    The fact that he is doing this behind your back makes him not trustworthy in my book.

    Time to part company.
    FramingT, cjmst3k and David Waldmann like this.
  3. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    This is my thoughts too.
  4. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    I am an employee at the company where I work now.
    In 47 years I have developed relationships with many clients including large corporate clients.

    Many of these clients have followed me to wherever I have worked over the years.
    I don't "backdoor" frame for them even though I could if I wanted to as I have some framing equipment at home.
    I bring them to the company that I work for and we continue to serve them.
    I always talk to my employer about any of these issues if there might be a conflict.
    The company that I work for makes more money and it gets passed along to me in the long run.

    I also do a number of installations for the company that I work for and often, I will use my own car and my own tools and supplies to help the installation.

    That your guy is framing at home is one thing, but to service one of your clients (and it may be more) and use your equipment to do it is not acceptable.
    cjmst3k likes this.
  5. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    This is a real breach of trust, and theft of company resources. I'd talk to a lawyer to make sure you do everything right in terminating him. You may have a case for damages because of his stealing your customer. But, the advice here is worth what you've paid for it. See a lawyer.
    shayla, cjmst3k and FramerCat like this.
  6. i-FRAMER

    i-FRAMER MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    i would also fire him. I would then contact your customer and let them know why, and about his unauthorised use of your equipment.

    What he is doing is potentially stealing from you. If you don't fire him, then i would be telling him that if he is caught using your equipment again without paying for a fee and in his own time, you will refer the matter to the police.

    If you have more staff, then you really should make an example of him, to show you won't put up with anything like that.

    I hope you sort it out that your happy with.
  7. Michael A Slavin

    Michael A Slavin CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Over the years this type of thing has happened in our shop several times. Both the customer and your employee are being sleezy. Don't think twice-Fire them both.
  8. graysalchemy

    graysalchemy CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Fire him, no second chances no matter how good he is, he needs to understand that that is not acceptable in the work place. He may end up continuing to work from home and you may potentially set up a competitor, but you cant trust him one iota anymore. And if he does manage to get a job else were in the framing industry then he may well think twice about it.

    I was looking at taking a member of staff from another company last year but then I was told he was making mirrors in his own time at the company (probably using their materials) so I didn't explore it any further. Once they have done that with one company they will do it again.
  9. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Why did your employee not ask you? Because they knew you would say no, it's dishonest, no trust no job!
    shayla likes this.
  10. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    There are people who just wouldn't see anything wrong with this. Others take the attitude
    that it's alright if they don't get caught. Either way you don't want them on your team.

    A similar thing happened to a gallery-owner friend of mine. He represented an artist who
    was very good but it was my mate who really built his reputation from a business point of
    view. There was a point in the relationship where the artist (possibly after a bit of family
    pressure) decided to pull the plug and sell direct. After all, the gallery was taking a big
    chunk of commission. But the artist started advertising in the same places and basically
    hijacking previous gallery customers. This is where business ethics, or lack of, comes in.
    As I heard it, the artist was told in no uncertain terms that this was not acceptable and
    had to shift his ground.

    I've even had customers of mine who know I work with galleries ask if I can get certain
    paintings they have seen in said galleries and let them have them for a lower price. This
    I could maybe do, but I never would.
  11. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    We get it all the time Peter, we produce work for artists that's displayed in galleries all over the UK ( a couple state side too) when customers find out where they are produced they ask if we could do them cheaper, yes we could, will we? No.
  12. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    There is nothing wrong with an employee having a side business, as long as they don't steal your clients or use your equipment without permission
    FM Framer likes this.
  13. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    There is a saying that applies to this situation and I've been trying to think what it is. :rolleyes:

    I came to me just now.

    "Don't bite the hand that feeds you."

    DanPat likes this.
  14. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    ...and don't do work that is competitive with their day job.

    I don't see any way for a framer to moonlight in framing without (possibly not until the future) affecting your business. Now if they want to start a business cutting hair, or mowing lawns, or couriering or what have you, then I wouldn't care as long as the extra time being spent didn't reduce their ability to do their day job.
    Framing Goddess and ArtMechanics like this.
  15. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Oh, really?

    Would you be happy knowing that one of your staff is running a framing business on the side? In your area? Soliciting business that should have gone to you?

    He/she would have access to every detail of your business. Your prices, your suppliers and their discounts, your trade secrets, how you obtain customers, everything. There are legal precedents governing this circumstance, and I'm willing to bet that courts have ruled against such arrangements. Your employee is not operating at arm's length: the employee has a duty of non-disclosure to the employer. What about the training you provided, both on-the-job and off site? Are you happy knowing you are training someone to compete against you? Can you guarantee that the employee does not talk against you? How can you be sure that his customers were not solicited?

    That lawyer's visit looks really appealing.

    Just for fun, Google "employees stealing customers".
    IFGL likes this.
  16. JWB9999999

    JWB9999999 SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I would say framing on the side is acceptable IF AND ONLY IF he is offering something different from what you offer in your shop. For example, if you refuse shadowboxes, or don't offer chalk painted frames, and he does, then I'd say more power to him, as long as he never, ever, mentions any such thing to anyone until they are walking out the door. And if he acquires customers who've visited your shop, you should be getting a commission. Anything else and he is outright stealing customers and business from you.

    His using your equipment without permission is dishonest and theft, unless he actually is paying your shop for the mats and to cut them. Doesn't sound like that's the case.

    I'd discuss it with him just to clarify, and then if all is as stated, I'd let him go. I'd probably also start contacting my most frequent vendors to let them know, in case he attempts to have things for himself delivered to your shop.

  17. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    In any relationship, trust is key.
    While this might not work for some shop owners, it may work for some.
    A relative question is, can a highly qualified, experienced framer make a liveable wage in your area?
    If not, why shouldn't they be able to take his/her skill set and earn some extra money on the side.
    Working in a decent frame shop requires many talents. Technical aspects, design, caring for customer's valuables etc.
    I know in my area, a few shops require extra help when they are busy or have large commercial jobs.They rely on part-time framers, some of whom may work at different shops.
    Yes, I know one can get a part-time job at Starbucks :)
    Just my perspective...
    prospero likes this.
  18. DanPat

    DanPat CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Wow! I didn't expect so many responses! and they all seem to recommend the same solution for addressing the problem.

    Neilframer, thank you for your perspective on this. I had hoped that when I hired him he would bring some of his past clients with him to my shop. But I have now learned that after his previous employer closed and before his first day working at my shop 2 years ago, he registered a trade name with the state, and reached out to his past customers. It now seems like he needed to have the security of a steady paycheck, while also trying to get his own business up and running.

    I now understand some of the lack of motivation I have seen over the past couple of years. Correct me if I am wrong, but an employee who has established a business account and has reached out to past clients has one foot in the door, and the other elsewhere, creating a situation where the loyalty and commitment to his employer is not as strong as it could be.

    When I confronted him about the use of the CMC, he claimed he had only used it a handful of times over the past couple of months. He works by himself on Mondays, and was able to easily do whatever he wanted since I was not there. I really have no idea how many mats he might have cut, and whether or not any of my materials were used. The two Mondays that I was able to track, I noticed that some of the mats were cut on my time. I wonder how often that happened!

    He is currently my only employee. Before posting here yesterday, I had decided that I would keep him on, but have him sign a no compete contract. But based on the responses I have received here, it seems that I am being way too gracious. I have never fired an employee. And I know that it would be difficult for me to do that.

    As far as the customer of mine that he had done some work for, I had a meeting with him after work the other day, and it looks like he is going to continue working with me. This customer is a steady account, and does about 100+ pieces a year through his non-profit organization.

    Thanks for your comments and advice. It is very much appreciated!
  19. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    Just so you know, when I talk about bringing in corporate clients who have followed me over the years, I am not "stealing" clients from an existing business.

    I worked for a very large design and framing business for 14 years.
    We had very high end corporate and celebrity clients.

    The owner retired and closed her business.
    We are still great friends and I went to her house for Christmas dinner.

    Her former assistant, who is also a good friend, opened a design company that is very successful.
    They don't have their own frame shop, they just have samples and they design and spec out whatever they need and then farm it out to us.
    This is also the case with 2 other shops that I worked for years ago.
    The owner either retired or the shop just wasn't making it and closed.

    Some of the corporate clients that I framed for just tracked me down and followed me to where I was working for framing and installations.
    None of these clients were "stolen" from anybody.
    They just liked the work I did and they came to me when the previous companies were no longer available.
    My current boss loves it.:cool:
    I just like to keep and maintain these relationships that I've developed over the years.
    It's a win/win situation.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
    DanPat likes this.
  20. DanPat

    DanPat CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    The shop where he had worked had also closed. I reached out to him and offered him a job when I heard they were closing. He accepted and began working for me a couple of months later. I had hoped he would bring over some of their past clients, but that did not happen. I also was not aware of his plans to do framing on the side. Had I known about that, I probably would not have hired him.
  21. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I feel for you, firing someone does not feel nice at all, I have had to do it a number of times, unfortunately it is sometimes necessary, put it in writing and make sure you use a reason here he has no recourse for taking you to court, I am UK based so do not know the law in the USA, I would be using words like, breach of trust and gross misconduct in this situation.

    Once it's done you will feel bad for a little while, then it will feel like a weight lifted, I now have a very good team who work hard and find contracts for the company, sometimes on their own time, I treat my staff well and they repay me back in kind, I just took a while to find the good ones.

    Good luck!
    ArtMechanics likes this.
  22. UzZx32QU

    UzZx32QU Administrator Staff Member

    Fire him...
    shayla likes this.
  23. UzZx32QU

    UzZx32QU Administrator Staff Member

    When I worked as a photographer and was approached with a job, I always took it to the studio I worked for. It was always considered a firing offence not to. Now later when I worked for art galleries and frame shops that had nothing to do with photography I did side photography jobs from time to time on weekend and evenings without conflict of interest.
    shayla likes this.
  24. graysalchemy

    graysalchemy CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    If you do keep him on not only will you have helped him get his business off the ground but you will help him to grow it to a point were he will be able to go full time and become a competitor. you are also setting a president to him and any future employee's as well. Take legal advice follow the correct procedure and get rid now whilst you have the opportunity.
  25. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Time to cut losses. Be sure to challenge if he tries to collect unemployment - can't do it if he's self-employed. I would also check to see if he's registered with your state and collecting sales tax.
  26. samcrimm

    samcrimm CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    It the same story in every type of business, you hire someone and they show up you trained them and you pay them, you don't get a check, they still do. Then they screw up work, cost you money, time and maybe customers. So they learn the business from you, ( you had to learn all this the hard way) use your equipment, order from your same suppliers (not much loyal to their customer (You)) and never have to bring anything to the table, just show up. And yet they steal business from yours, never worrying that they are taking food out of your families mouth, you struggle to pay bills make pay roll and they DON"T care! Bottom line is THEY REALLY DON'T CARE about you or their job. You making all this money, they think.
    Just do the Donald!
    One thing to check, is where he doing business zoned for it? Is he charging sales tax? Is he reporting his income? Let him feel the pain of owning a business and doing it right!
    FM Framer likes this.
  27. simplymatted

    simplymatted SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Where is the employee getting material? Using your accounts? I agree with the rest here, time to let him go!
  28. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Many judgements have struck down non-compete clauses, saying that the offender has the right to earn a living.

    This was a bad hire. Stop it now.

    With help from a lawyer.
  29. DanPat

    DanPat CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    That was a concern I had, especially since I was letting him do the ordering. I went back through several invoices, compared them against my picklist, and didn't notice anything too unusual.

    I learned that Larson Juhl set up an account with him, partially based on the reputation they had with his previous employer. I called my rep, and told him I was disappointed, and I believed that LJ had a policy against opening accounts with Home Based framers. I guess he worked around it by hanging samples at a photography business half an hour from me, and he had his deliveries dropped there too. He could then meet his customers there on his day(s) off.

    Here is Larson's policy from their website: http://www.larsonjuhl.com/New-Account-Inquiry/ "To qualify as a Larson-Juhl customer, you must be actively involved in picture framing through a full-time business in a wholesale or retail store-front location with regular hours or through an approved e-commerce website. Once qualified, a new customer packet will be sent with the forms required to complete your account set-up process. This will include providing us with a copy of your resale tax certificate."

    I'm a bit disappointed with them, and am considering cutting back on my business with them.
  30. DanPat

    DanPat CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    He did register with the state as an LLC between when his previous employer closed and when he started at my shop. I had already talked to him about working for me prior to him registering his account. When we talked, he never made any indication of wanting to set up his own shop.
  31. DanPat

    DanPat CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    According to Google, a living wage in my area for a single adult is $12.65/hour. Honestly, I find this hard to believe, it seems like one would need to make more than that to get by. I pay him another $5.85/hour above that. I paid him what he had asked for when I hired him. I gave him a raise a month ago, and a substantial Christmas bonus.

    Sure, they can do some work on the side to make extra money, but I think a line is crossed when it involves using their employer's equipment without permission. Another line is crossed when they take a customer - taking food off of my family's table.
    FM Framer likes this.

    GUMBY GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Don't let him work alone again. Let him go with cause now do not wait. If you wait your case fro termination gets weak and you will end up paying unemployment. You/lawyer need to draft a termination letter. Explaining if he directly contacts any of the customers on your customer list you will consider this theft and refer it to the Prosecutors office. Have him sign it.
    We had that happen to another framer here in town. Longtime employee left started his own shop within 4miles.Took employers customer list did a mailing...announcing his new shop.
    By the way you could also contact the local police department and tell them you have an employee you are firing. Tell them you are not sure he will take it calmly. Ask if they would have an officer be there when you dismiss him. If not tell them you wantto hire an off duty officer for an hour. This will definetly make him think twice about using your customer list that he has probably already taken.
  33. Framing Goddess

    Framing Goddess SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Document everything then fire him. Have an attorney handy. No reason to be mean to him, just quick and firm. He is playing you as a fool.
    FM Framer and shayla like this.
  34. Starving Artist

    Starving Artist CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    I agree it is time to part company.
    About 10 years ago one of our local framers had a problem like your, but his employee worked the sales desk and downloaded the customer files from the computer before leaving. Understand this was not just the customer name and address, but a complete record of all their purchases. My friend has been in business for over 30 years and had complete sales records. It cost my friend many hundreds of dollars and time contacting his customers to tell them he wanted their business. Both are still in business within 2 miles of each other and this employee still uses the customer list.
  35. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    This person may have already stolen your customer list, but in case not, make sure that when you fire them it's with absolutely no warning, that he is removed from the premises while under your watch, and that all forms of access are completely reversed. For instance, if you had given him a key, and that key was able to be duplicated (not all are...) then I would get the locks changed immediately unless you also have a security system and have his unique access code removed from the system before you go home.

    You might also want to think about any online services he might have had access to by virtue of an unsecured computer system; for instance if you had one login on a shop computer and both of you used it, unless you cleared caches/cookies every time you were done, anything you accessed is potentially compromised. Change every password to any account he may have had access to.
    shayla, cjmst3k and JWB9999999 like this.
  36. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The vast majority of your customers would never switch to a prior employee's home based frame shop.
    I would get him to sign a written warning, take back keys etc, change passwords and don't have him work alone.
    in the meanwhile, look for a new framer and make sure he/she understands your boundaries.
  37. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Change your passwords and add a few entries of friends and relatives to your database, but if someone is stealing your customers, I wouldn't be surprised if your customer list has already been taken too.
  38. ArtMechanics

    ArtMechanics True Grumbler

    The multitude of responses indicate the commonality of the issue. Its nothing new. The guy I worked for before opening my business just had this happen to him (not by me). I worked in a different industry for 2 years after working for him before opening my shop. We are on good terms and even still work together at times. He called me to give a heads up not to hire the guy. He was doing work at home and buying materials on the company tab.

    What if your distributor did this to you?! My shop is in a sort of artist compound. The artist upstairs uses me for framing and does quite a bit of work. I found my rep for universal arquati trying to take some of her artwork out through the common area. It just so happened I came to work early that day... I confronted her about it, and the artist. Apparently, universal started framing out of their warehouse here in the l.a. area. They tried to play it off like it was a benefit to me somehow! The excuse was universal would do all of the work, so I wouldn't have to. Hilarious! "For the trade" went out the window during the great recession. Some distributors in town here started doing framing so any Joe off the street, with zero framing know-how, could go to get the same prices we pay. Pretty crappy.
  39. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Make sure he does not have access to your entire customer list and let him go immediately. His use of your equipment is theft. What else is he stealing besides your customers?

    There is no excuse.

    If you do not have a policy manual you should put one together soon before replacing him too. My policy manual specifically addressed these issues.
    shayla likes this.
  40. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I think you've been generous enough. Now it seems to be a question of whether or not you can get by without him.

    If you can't get by without him, then he has already called your bluff by using your equipment. He knows your need of him if he's already taken a customer of yours, and used your equipment, under your own roof, for HIS profit. You have to accept that he is likely to take other liberties, since he has done it before. ...or, you need to consider replacing him.

    Also, get a NestCam (previously DropCam) and get the subscription package to save video recordings. Put them strategically around the shop. The counter, the back room, etc. A good thing to have to protect yourself.

    Consider that you are probably currently in a position, that you may not be in later. You are currently in a position where firing him may be justified based on his immediate behavior. If you decide to fire him later, based on long-past behavior, it may be less protected legally, but a lawyer will determine this for you.

    A non-compete may be worth considering. But for me, having him take business from an EXISTING customer would have been a major fireable offense, and then him using company resources? Its egregious. He knows it. And by letting him get away with it may come back to bite you later, one way or another.
    FM Framer and David Waldmann like this.
  41. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    A guy I knew had a gallery/framing business. I used to drop by now and then.
    I went in one day and he had got a new 'glamorous assistant.
    Now he was the sort of chap who was prone to disaster and he did have a keen
    eye for the ladies. This girl was quite a looker. He was very pleased to have her working
    for him especially as she was being paid peanuts. We both knew, or knew of, her father
    who was fairly rich. He had his finger in more than a few pies.
    So poor little rich girl doing a hobby job.
    Next time I went round she had gone. Turns out someone had put him right about a few things...
    Turns out that daddy would get his daughter to latch onto small businesses and inveigle her way
    in. Then she would report back about the financial state of the business and also try her hardest to
    run it down. At the right time, when the business was struggling, daddy would horn in for the buy-out.

    David Waldmann likes this.
  42. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Also, what is the potential that the other company going out of business may have involved potential theft of their customers, just like he did to you? Might be worth considering.
  43. samcrimm

    samcrimm CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    The bottom line with all the input from us is fire him. The question is does he have your customer list? If he does, he stole it from you. Just like stealing Mat Board or working on your time cutting mat for himself. It's stealing!
    From all the post we all want the best for you, pointing out the things you might not think of and its great advice.
    Just remember he has,is and will steal from you. You'll never be able to trust him again.
    Back to the customer list, if you can have him sign that he does not have it or if he does he can't use use it, and a lawyer or police can fill out the rest. If he uses your list be ready to go after him...... I believe it will HURT you in the long run.
    David Waldmann likes this.
  44. simplymatted

    simplymatted SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    So, what did you decide?
  45. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    This also may be a very delicate issue legally, and he might need to be careful what comments are public, unless he keeps the person employed.
    David Waldmann likes this.
  46. artfolio

    artfolio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Here in Australia that would quite possibly lead to criminal prosecution under the charge of "stealing as a servant". Any use of an employer's equipment, premises or intellectual property (ie customer lists) for personal gain would trigger that.

    As others have said you should consult a lawyer experienced in dealing with such matters to ensure you do everything by the book to get rid of this thief, recover financial damages and, if possible, have him held accountable under criminal law.
  47. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    I would be careful to limit what you say here. You came for help, described a situation, got suggestions, all without saying anything damaging. Leave it at that, and when the dust settles, tell us what your lawyer tells you to tell us. You may want to have your lawyer read this thread.
    cjmst3k likes this.
  48. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Hi, DanPat! It's great to see you hear again.

    Here are a few thoughts I have from reading through all of this. Completely agree with the folks who say it's the lying and theft that make it a no-go. Period. Secondly, I hope you take to heart the advice to change passwords, locks, etc..., fire him on the spot and don't let him have access to anything alone. He's shown that he can't be trusted, and it's not a normal situation. Thirdly, based on your ways here before, I read you as an honest, loyal, serious and good-hearted man. Because of these traits, it's likely you want to hope for the best him, and are also more likely than many to bend over backwards trying to accommodate him now. But he's shown that giving him the benefit of the doubt doesn't work. He abuses trust, and it's vital for you to act to protect yourself. The 'find a lawyer' advice is wise, too.

    My husband, who spent decades in corporate management in another industry says this, "Remember: If you have to fire someone, it's not because you're a mean person. It's because their behavior forced you into that box." He said he agrees that the man should be fired immediately. Your business might take a hit for a bit, but better now than later, and you're giving him the gift of being held accountable for his actions.

    Two other thoughts. One is, think carefully about how you would portray this to any customers. One one hand, you don't wish to seem like a meanie to a bunch of folks, but on the other, it's very easy to get caught in a finger-pointing quagmire that leaves people with a negative feeling about the whole thing. You can fire someone and still take the high road, and you'll be thankful for it later. Lastly, although it's likely your employee isn't noodling around here, it's good to keep in mind that anything posted on the main forum here can potentially come up in online searches.
  49. simplymatted

    simplymatted SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Well said. Calm and rational. Glad to see someone is level headed.
  50. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    Thought of a couple more things. Because of who you are, you're already wanting to handle this fairly. Yet another reason to do so is that we never know what the future holds. Once he's promptly and politely let go, his business might fizzle out. Or it could grow until he's another bona fide frame shop in town. Either way, firing him and being polite (but with wise boundaries) is the best way to have handled this. Also, it's vital that any customers who were using him during this time feel comfortable about returning to your shop. Making big news of his unfaithfulness would likely make anyone who used him feel somewhat complicit, and the guilt might be enough to keep them from coming to you. If they instead have a sense of friendly welcome, that will help them relax and return.

    I hope that you and your family are doing well. And remember, a few months from now, you'll be in a better spot. Plus, there will be flowers.
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