If I have a car care business, what are my rights if an employee did work on the side at our place of business?

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If I have a car care business, what are my rights if an employee did work on the side at our place of business?

We have an employee who brought a customer’s car to our site after business hours without consent and worked on it; he used our supplies and the patron paid him $300 cash on the side. Can we have him arrested if he will not pay us the money for the work that he did? What about the guy who owns the car? What about trespassing and/or stealing for both of them?

Asked on February 25, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The customer did nothing wrong: he or she would have no way of knowing that the employee was using your facilities and supplies without permission, etc. (For example, for all the customer knew, the employee was remitting part of the money to you, or otherwise had your permission to do this--maybe, for example, as a perk of their job, you allowed employees to see some number of their own customers on the side after business hours.) The customer did not steal: he or she paid someone who either explictly said or implicitly acted like he had permission to use the parts, suppliees, etc. he did. The customer likewise did not trespass if someone who seemed to have the authority to let you on the premises did so.

The employee, however, was in the wrong. You could potentially press charges for theft; you could sue him for the value of the supplies he used; and, of course, you could fire him for cause (no unemployment).


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