Does a employer have the right to take employees tools after a fire since the employer carried the insurance policy?

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Does a employer have the right to take employees tools after a fire since the employer carried the insurance policy?

We had a fire at the shop I work at and the employer carried a insurance policy for replacement of the employees tools.

I had purchased all my tools and did not owe anything on them. The insurance company does not want the tools back

but the employer says the tools belong to them since they carried the insurance policy. However, I the employee purchased the tools originally shouldn’t the tools be mine? Do they have any right to take the tools?

Asked on February 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Who was paid on the insurance policy: you or the employer? If the employer was paid for the claim but the tools belong to you, then the employer committed insurance fraud and if you go along with it, you may be committing it, too: you cannot insure for your benefit or be paid on another person's property.
Furthermore, your question makes it appear that the tools were not destroyed, since if they were, it would not matter to you or the employer gets them. If a claim was put in for tools as if they were destroyed but they were not, that is again insurance fraud, and if you go along with it, you may be participating in the fraud.
To get back to your original question: if you paid for them and did not give them to the employer, the employer may not have them: they are simply not its property. If you were paid by the insurer (e.g. you were the insured, even if your insurer footed the bill for you), they would belong to the insurer (for having paid the claim) unless, as in this case, the insurer gives up its right to them; providing the funds for another's insurance policy does not give you a right to the insured property by itself, unless there was some agreement that for doing so, the tools became the property of the one paying for the insurance. If the insurer paid you but does not want the tools, then they remain yours.
However, as stated, if these were your tools but the employer put in a claim for them, or a claim was put in as if they were destroyed when they were not, there may be insurance fraud.


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