Destruction of personal property

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Destruction of personal property

I work for a truck driving company. I went on home time for a couple days and my company had me leave my truck and most of my poccessions in my truck since I would be returning in a few days. However, a couple of days into my home time, my company called me and informed me they needed my truck and they said they would store my things at the yard where they had me store my truck. When it was time to return to work, there were no trucks available for me in state so they flew me out of state. They assured me my stuff would be safe at their yard. The next time I was able to return to get my stuff, they informed me it had all been thrown away. These belongings included all of my clothes, tools, personal documents such as my birth certificate, and other personal worldly poccessions. Is that legal?

Asked on November 2, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal:they had no right to throw out your belongings. You could sue them for the monetary value (unfortunately, only the monetary value--not the sentimental value, or for the inconvenience of replacing these things) of  the items they either intentionally (on purpose) or negligently (carelessly) discarded, lost, or destroyed. And if they fire you over asserting your right to reimbursement for their wrongful act, you may have a wrongful termination claim, too, since employers should not terminate employees for vindicating their legal rights. (Do be warned, however, that wrongful termination claims tend to be difficult ones in this country, due to the presumption of "employment at will," or that employers can generally terminate employees at any time, for any reason--therefore, you should not treat as a given that you would win a wrongful termination claim.)


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