Can I get in trouble if I still use my employee discount after I’ve left my employer?

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Can I get in trouble if I still use my employee discount after I’ve left my employer?

I worked for a retailer about 3years ago. As an employee, you are allowed to shop online at a discounted rate. When you leave the company, they are supposed to automatically remove or “decode” you from the system so that you do not receive the employee discount. However, my online account is still coded as an employee. It is HR’s responsibility to remove me their system. They decoded my account from their sister store, but clearly missed this one. I still receive the 50% off. Can this cause any legal issues, even though I’m still paying for it but just at a discounted rate?

Asked on March 5, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are committing a form of theft--you could certainly be sued, and could even potentially face criminal liability. By your own admission in your question, you are no longer entitled to an employee discount, since you are not an employee. If you get items for 50% off using a discount you are not legally allowed to use, you are in essence stealing 50% of the value of each item. The fact that they forget to disable your discount doesn't mean anything--for example, say you leased a car, then when you returned it at the end of the lease, the dealer forgot to take back one set of keys. The fact that you still had a set of keys would not entitle you to drive the car. Similarly, that your employee discount was not deactivated does not entitle you to use it when you are not an employee.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are committing a form of theft--you could certainly be sued, and could even potentially face criminal liability. By your own admission in your question, you are no longer entitled to an employee discount, since you are not an employee. If you get items for 50% off using a discount you are not legally allowed to use, you are in essence stealing 50% of the value of each item. The fact that they forget to disable your discount doesn't mean anything--for example, say you leased a car, then when you returned it at the end of the lease, the dealer forgot to take back one set of keys. The fact that you still had a set of keys would not entitle you to drive the car. Similarly, that your employee discount was not deactivated does not entitle you to use it when you are not an employee.


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