If my former boss is asking for items he allowed me to take out of state but he hasn’t paid me in 7 months, am I required to return them?

I left to live out of state where my boss allowed me to work from home with a computer, iPad and iPhone. He currently owes me $5000 after placing 2 bad checks into my account and not paying me in months. Am I required to return them or can I keep them since he owes me money? I did sign something in order to take the items with me. I don’t have a copy of that. I told his attorney to send me money for shipping and I would return them but after that, I know I will never get my money. He has taken other employees to court and won under the same circumstances.

Asked on June 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you possess company equipment from your former employer then you need to return it immediately. As to monies owed you by your former employer such is well overdue.

I would do the following:

1. contact an attorney who practices employment law as to money owed you by your former employer;

2. make a complaint with the local labor department about unpaid money owed you for wages by your former employer.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You have answered your own question here with the last sentence. You would be with holding property that was not yours (a theft).  What you need to do is to take your boss to court for past due wages and discuss with an attorney the bad check issue (he can get in to a lot of trouble for passing bad checks).  I would also ask the court to allow you to deposit the items with your attorney to hold "in escrow" until the past due funds are paid by money order or bank check.  Good luck.

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