If my work tools were stolen from a storage container at work, is my employer responsible for replacing my stolen equipment?

I’m employed at a car dealership. My work requires me to provide my own tools, recently we’ve had upgrades which included company supplied toolboxes which caused me to have to put mine in storage. I did not have anywhere at home to keep my belongings so I had permission to leave them in a locked storage container on my company’s property, a few weeks later the storage container was broke into and my toolbox was stolen. The company I work for is telling me their is a $5000 insurance deductible and my equipment is worth about half that. I think they want to help me out but the deductible is really high compared to the cost of my equipment

Asked on July 24, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Your employer is not responsible for the criminal actions, like theft, of other persons--even of other employees or your co-workers: if the thief was not an employee, the employer had no control over him; if it was an employee, in committing a crime, the employee acted beyond the scope of his employment (he was not hired or employed to steal), but employers are only responsible for the actions of their employees done within the scope of their job. Therefore, no matter who the thief was, the employer would not be responsible and does not have to pay for your stolen tools; and if they are not responsible, their insurer is not responsible, either. (The employer could voluntarily choose to help you out and pay some or all of the tool cost, but if they do, it is because they chose to--not because they had to.) This is why if you have valuable tools, you should maintain your own insurance on them.

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