As a church are we responsible to safeguard personal mail received by the homeless who use our address?

Can we face a lawsuit if these are lost or stolen from our facility? Are we required to lock it up so no one else can open the mail?

Asked on February 10, 2015 under Business Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Your obligation is to not tamper with, open, throw out, etc. the mail--not to affirmatively protect or safeguarad it. Of course, if any of your staff improperly open other person's mail, or discard other person's mail, you could be liable, so putting in some system to safeguard it, so that it is not lost or available to anyone who chooses to, to open--perhaps locked "mailboxes" in a room for each person who uses your address--would be a very good idea.


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