Can I be sued because my employee’s property was stolen?

I work as a manager for a large restaurant chain. I had an employee bring in a pressure washer to work. Several weeks later it was stolen. When he asked the restaurant chain to replace it they said they were not responsibly. He now says he is going to sue me if I don’t

buy him a new one. Am I responsibly?

Asked on May 25, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you would be responsible only if 1) you had agreed to pay for it if stolen or lost, destroyed, etc.; or 2) you were personally at fault in causing or contributing to the theft, such as by leaving it outside or failing to lock the workplace's doors the day it was stolen. Otherwise, you would not have to pay for it, though that will not stop the employee filing a lawsuit and forcing you to defend yourself (it is almost impossible to stop a lawsuit from being filed, even when there is no real basis for it).

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