Can my ex-employer demand gifted tools back?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my ex-employer demand gifted tools back?

I quit my job recently and now my employer says that I owe him equipment that was given to me while working for him. It was a cheap climbing equipment that was gave to me to replace equipment of

my own that I had worn out working for him.

Asked on May 11, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If it was, as you indicate, an actual gift--simply given to you with no strings attached (i.e. not on condition that you keep working for them for some period of time, in order to "pay for" the tools), then no, he cannot require it back. A gift, once given, cannot be ungiven, and the giver has no further rights to the gift: he gave those up when he gave the gift to you. Only if this was not in fact a gift when made (e.g. they were company tools, given to you only for your use while employed; or they tools which would become yours only after some specified period of time) would he have a right to them back.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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