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Woman fired for selling Girl Scout cookies at work

washington dc entrepreneurial program convenience store gross misconduct

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#1 Hum

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 00:05

WASHINGTON, DC -- Imagine being fired for selling Girl Scout Cookies at work.It happened to a woman who's worked at various food services companies on American University's campus for nearly 30 years.

Bon Appetit Retail Service Manager Tracy Lewis says she was hauled into the boss' office on February 18th, and told she was being fired for selling the cookies--even though she's done it for three years at the Eagle's Nest convenience store on campus.

In her termination letter from the Bon Appetit Management Company, the manager accuses her of "gross misconduct by soliciting ", and "operating a personal cash business selling girl scout cookies over the counter which violates company policy."

“I had the cookies on a cart, and I would never ask anyone to buy them, " Lewis says."But, If they wanted to buy some, I would sell them."

Lewis has worked for Bon Appetit for 12 years, an 28 years on the AU campus. She's a single mom with a son in college, and a 12 year old daughter who loves being a Girl Scout.

"They didn't give me any warning,” Lewis says. “It’s crazy because I can't profit for selling the cookies," Lewis says. “It’s a volunteer position. I was just trying to help my daughter raise money for trips and stuff like that."

Bon Appetit's Vice President for Strategy, Maisie Greenawalt , wrote in a statement,"Employee relations information is confidential."

A statement from the Chief Operating Officer of the Girl Scouts Council of the Nation's Capitol should be a wake up call for any parent thinking about trying to sell cookies on the job.

“Girl scout cookie sales are a girl-led, entrepreneurial program. We want the girls to be taking the lead," COO Colleen Cibula wrote.

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#2 Nogib

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 00:12

If her daughter wanted to raise money for Scouts she should, oh I don't know, SELL THEM HERSELF.

#3 Deleted Bye

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 00:14

speculation: i am suspecting other companies have a contract agreement in place where they are the only brands allowed to be sold. She asked to to see if she could sell the cookies, they said no. She decided to put them on the car and not offer them for sale but if people asked, she would. She went against the contract after being told not to offer them for sale.

#4 nekkidtruth

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 00:17

Although I agree her daughter should have been selling them herself, I find it ridiculous she wasn't even warned first. You don't even give an employee who has worked for you for 12 years the benefit of the doubt by simply asking them to stop doing that? Especially after allowing it for 3 years? I smell a lawsuit.

#5 OP Hum

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 00:25

I thought girls were to build up their character by doing the selling, themselves.

No wonder young women grow up thinking they need 'a man' to do everything for them.

#6 -Razorfold

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 00:25

Although I agree her daughter should have been selling them herself, I find it ridiculous she wasn't even warned first. You don't even give an employee who has worked for you for 12 years the benefit of the doubt by simply asking them to stop doing that? Especially after allowing it for 3 years? I smell a lawsuit.

They never said that she was allowed to do it for 3 years though. She might have never been caught or she was told not to and kept doing it.

Anyways what she did was pretty stupid. She works in food services but sells her own products on the side? That would be like me working at Toyota but asking people if they wanted to buy a Honda.

#7 nekkidtruth

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 00:34

They never said that she was allowed to do it for 3 years though. She might have never been caught or she was told not to and kept doing it.

Anyways what she did was pretty stupid. She works in food services but sells her own products on the side? That would be like me working at Toyota but asking people if they wanted to buy a Honda.


It doesn't excuse the fact that after 12 years they axed her without warning. I'm not arguing over whether it was stupid or not, of course it was. However, details such as whether she asked first or not are missing from the article. What isn't missing is the fact that they didn't even ask her to stop before tossing her out the door after 12 years of service.

#8 COKid

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 00:50

Stupid is as stupid does.

#9 Deleted Bye

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:07

It doesn't excuse the fact that after 12 years they axed her without warning. I'm not arguing over whether it was stupid or not, of course it was. However, details such as whether she asked first or not are missing from the article. What isn't missing is the fact that they didn't even ask her to stop before tossing her out the door after 12 years of service.

speculation: when flat out told "no" then she goes ahead anyways, no warning would be needing.

#10 nekkidtruth

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:10

speculation: when flat out told "no" then she goes ahead anyways, no warning would be needing.


We can speculate all sorts of different things. Since there is no indication that happened, nor is the company simply saying "We told her no, she did it anyway.", doesn't mean anything. Based on the facts available, this was a pretty mean-spirited way to deal with the situation on the company's part.

#11 Growled

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:15

"They didn't give me any warning,” Lewis says.


That is illegal and she would have a case if she decided to sue, at least in my state. You have to show your rules and the warnings given and whatnot. It has to involve various infractions. Unless it involves something like drugs or something potentially dangerous to the rest of the employees you can't just fire someone on a whim anymore.

#12 Rohdekill

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:25

That is illegal and she would have a case if she decided to sue, at least in my state. You have to show your rules and the warnings given and whatnot. It has to involve various infractions. Unless it involves something like drugs or something potentially dangerous to the rest of the employees you can't just fire someone on a whim anymore.


I suggest you look up "At Will Employment" or more commonly known as "Work At Will". Just about every state in the U.S. is an at will employment state, including D.C. Once you review this and note that a company can terminate employment for ANY reason which does not violate existing discrimination laws, come back and explain just how "illegal" her termination was.

#13 nekkidtruth

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:38

I suggest you look up "At Will Employment" or more commonly known as "Work At Will". Just about every state in the U.S. is an at will employment state, including D.C. Once you review this and note that a company can terminate employment for ANY reason which does not violate existing discrimination laws, come back and explain just how "illegal" her termination was.


Thankfully, this situation (if it in fact unfolded as the article says it did) is illegal here in Canada.

#14 Growled

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 02:30

I suggest you look up "At Will Employment" or more commonly known as "Work At Will". Just about every state in the U.S. is an at will employment state, including D.C. Once you review this and note that a company can terminate employment for ANY reason which does not violate existing discrimination laws, come back and explain just how "illegal" her termination was.


You are right and I misspoke. It is not illegal.

#15 Icanect C

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:08

I suggest you look up "At Will Employment" or more commonly known as "Work At Will". Just about every state in the U.S. is an at will employment state, including D.C. Once you review this and note that a company can terminate employment for ANY reason which does not violate existing discrimination laws, come back and explain just how "illegal" her termination was.


While At Will employment is an important factor it doesn't automatically disqualify her for a lawsuit. Employers often have policy and procedures in place within the organization on how their Human Resources goes about firing someone or terminating an individuals employment. If those rules (if the company has them) and those company policies provide an employee with MORE benefit than the at will employment law on that states books and the company did NOT follow their own policies and procedures she certainly has a case for a lawsuit. I am no no way suggesting she would WIN said lawsuit but just because a state has an at will employment law does not in and of itself preclude her capabilities to seek justice.

It would seem you are NOT a lawyer so when providing this information maybe you should note that this is your OPINION of law.


Also to anyone who suggests the CHILD should sell the cookies - please just stop with your high and mighty attitude PLENTY of parents help their children sell cookies at their jobs so please just stop with the nonsense comments and do so without being terminated. I can't believe this employer would actually use girl scout cookies as a reason to fire someone that is just ridiculous and anyone who suggests otherwise is as foolish as this employer is and I count myself lucky to not work with such tightwad's.