Can a business owner keep your personally paid for equipment if its not picked up in a timely manner because it was lent to another employee?

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Can a business owner keep your personally paid for equipment if its not picked up in a timely manner because it was lent to another employee?

Equipment and products were purchased by me before I even started at the business. When I quit I left my equipment and products there for the employee that I shared my room with because her equipment failed. I told her she could borrow it. She has now quit and was going to bring everything to me but the owner is now telling her she can’t because the equipment and products are now property of her business.

Asked on June 27, 2012 under Business Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, the business may not retain your personally paid for equipment simply because you left that equipment at work. The fact that property is used in the course of your employment, loaned to another worker, or left at the place of employment does not give the employer any rights in or to it. If the employer does not return it, you could try contacting the police and reporting this as a theft; but if they will not help you, deeming this a "civil" matter, your recourse would be to sue the employer for the equipment's return or (if it was lost, disposed of, broken, etc.) its value. You should come armed with receipts showing that you purchased it and the price you paid.


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