When we first got cable TV as a kid, I must have watched his movie “Himself” a few dozen times after school. His “Chocolate Cake” routine was even something I showed my kids a few years ago.
And I don’t think I missed many episodes of his sitcom either.
When the accusations about him popped up, I did what many people did – just thought they couldn’t be true. I mean it’s BILL COSBY.
And now? I’m just so thoroughly and completely disgusted by him. Repulsed. The New York magazine article with testimony from so many women is just sickening to read. The pain that they have endured through the years and the courage they have now is hard to fathom.
But here’s the thing: I shouldn’t have been that surprised. Time and again, my colleagues and I will hear of clients with their own “Bill Cosby.”
I don’t mean it from the drugging women sense. That’s horrible in its own twisted way that hopefully isn’t repeated. Thankfully that’s one story I haven’t heard in the workplace.
What I mean, though, is the teflon person. The person in your workplace that just couldn’t be what a rumor suggests perhaps they might. That person who is the complete opposite of what you’re now suspecting.
And what might such a rumor look like? It might be that their resume doesn’t add up. Or those corporate expense account bills aren’t making sense anymore. Or someone is looking at child pornography on your system, but it seems to linked to your top sales person.
That couldn’t be true. I mean it’s “Joanna!” or “Mike!”
But as I’ve seen and I’m sure other employment lawyers have seen, in our careers, there will be a time or two when it is true.
It’s a kick in the gut. It’s that sickening feeling that you’ve been duped. You’ve been lied to in your face.
And then you have do the most important thing you can for your company: Instead of ignoring it or getting angry, you need to get your wits about you and investigate. Get to the bottom of it. Sooner rather than later.
You probably won’t like the findings. But then comes the interesting part: You can decide what to do from there. In some instances, you’ll have to go to the police (in fact, the police may be brought in as part of the investigation even before then). Or you can work out a deal with the employee. Perhaps allow them to resign with an agreement to repay funds. Or maybe it’s just a straight firing and lawsuit against them.
But the fact is you do have options.
Obviously, it should go without saying that bringing legal advice in to assist is critical. But that’s besides the point here.
May you be lucky to avoid a situation of a model employee who may not be what everyone thinks they are. If you do, though, remember that feeling many of us felt when we learned that even Bill Cosby isn’t who we thought he was.