Is my boss liable for my property?

My employer refuses to supply me with the
appropriate equipment for work. Therefore I
have my personal equipment that I use on the
job to finish an otherwise impossible task.
We recently were traveling for work in
Florida when our van was broken in to and
some of our bags were stolen, which had my
personal equipment that in them. We were
ableating to have the company insurance
reimburse me for the devalued amount of what
the equipment cost. However, shortly after
management sent out a company wide email
stating that they are no longer responsible
for any personal belongings that may be lost
stolen or broken while on site or at work. I
am a w2 employee, can my employer do this?

Asked on April 23, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can do this: your employer is not your insurer, and is not liable for the loss, theft, or destruction of your personal property, even if you brought it in for work, unless the employer is itself at fault (e.g. the employer torched the van for insurance, and your belongings were destroyed along with the van--in that case, they'd be liable; or if owner of the company stole your property, then he and/or the company would be liable). But this seems like a case where a 3rd party (some other person) stole your belongings, and the employer is not liable for that. If you have your own renter's or homeowner's or other insurance policy, you may be able to claim under it; if not, in the future, if you have valuable equipment, make sure to insure it.


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