Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: My housekeeper stole from me. Should I tell?

By Jamie Lauren Sutton  | September 1, 2010 - 8:05AM

Dear Ms. Demeanor:

Last week I came home while my housekeeper was working, and when I moved her bag from a chair, I saw some of my silverware inside.

It's not expensive stuff, so I'm guessing that my housekeeper (who came to me last year from my former housekeeper) can't even afford her own utensils.

I confronted her and told her she couldn't come back to work for me-that much is clear. But earlier on I referred her to a couple of friends. Should I tell them that I caught her stealing?  She was obviously down on her luck to begin with, and I feel like this could ruin her life.

Slippery Silver

Dear Slippery Sliver,

If one of your friends knew that a housekeeper you shared was stealing, I imagine you would want to know.  It is absolutely your duty to inform all your friends that she attempted to take something from you.  

I am not suggesting that you press charges and it is very big-hearted of you to acknowledge that she was having difficulties of her own, but she violated both the professional and social contract she had with you by stealing.  

No stealing is one of the Big Ten and I am not referring to a college with a good football team. Today your IKEA forks and knives, tomorrow your grandmother's engagement ring...  

Respectfully yours,
Ms. Demeanor


Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to [email protected].

See all Ms. Demeanor's advice here.

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