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The Ethics Coach on Managing a Sticky-Fingered Staff It all comes back to communication.

By Gael O'Brien

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Do you have an ethical dilemma? Write to The Ethics Coach at

Q: Employees at my restaurant are taking food home without paying for it and are not charging their friends for drinks. I made it clear that I'll fire people if the behavior continues, and I bought locks for the refrigerators. However, I remain angry. How do I trust my staff after this betrayal?

A: Employees who help themselves to food (or office supplies) don't think they're stealing; they see such things as perks, something they've earned. Besides, nobody will miss a burger here or a pack of binder clips there, right? And employees may be giving away drinks in an effort to impress their friends.

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