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Sell Girl Scout Cookies at Work, Get Fired?

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

Can you get fired for selling Girl Scout cookies at work? A single mom from Washington, D.C., has learned the answer the hard way.

Tracy Lewis worked for several food services companies on American University's campus for almost 30 years, and most recently worked as a retail service manager for an on-campus convenience store. She's been selling Girl Scout cookies at work for three years without any problems, she told Washington's WTTG-TV.

But last month, Lewis says her boss confronted her about her Girl Scout cookie sales -- an act that apparently caused her career to crumble.

In her termination letter, Lewis was accused of "gross misconduct" and "operating a personal cash business" by selling Girl Scout cookies at work. The letter said that selling the cookies violated company policy. Lewis said that she did not receive any warnings prior to her termination.

Lewis says that she had the cookies displayed in a cart, but insists she did not actively try to sell them to any customers, WTTG reports.

Either way, while terminating an employee for selling Girl Scout cookies may be in bad taste, Lewis' employer, the Bon Appetit Management Company, was likely acting within its legal rights in firing Lewis.

Generally, an employer can terminate an at-will employee for any reason or no reason at all.

If the company had a policy that prohibited selling non-business items at work, and Lewis knew about that policy, that could be a valid reason for termination. There could be many motives behind such a policy: for example, the company may not want to be linked to the Girl Scouts or the company may be trying to sell its own competing cookies.

Whatever the reason, Bon Appetit apparently acted on its policy and fired Lewis. Anyone else who may want to sell Girl Scout cookies (or any other outside items) at work may want to check with their supervisors first to see if it's OK.

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