Is an employer liable for personal belongings stolen from work due to negligence?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is an employer liable for personal belongings stolen from work due to negligence?

My skateboard was stolen from my

previous job, from an area where

personal belongings were assured to be

secure. My board did not fit into the

lockers however, the store manager

assured me it would be safe. The

lockers are located in the back of the

store in an ’employee only’ area, but

employee occasionally walk people to

the bathrooms located right beside the

lockers. In this particular instance,

the manager left the alarmed door to

the backroom propped open, effectively

allowing anyone to get into the back

without activating the alarm. An

unknown individual was then able to get

into the back, grab my skateboard, and

leave the area and the store with no

one being aware. I reported the

incident to the store manager,who,I

found out 2 weeks later, did not report

it to upper management. After hearing

nothing for 2 months, I was finally

contacted by the regional director who

said the company would not be

reimbursing me in any way, as my

belonging being stolen was my

responsibility. Is there any way to

challenge this decision considering the


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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

An employer--or indeed, any person--is not liable, or financially reaponsible for, the criminal actions of other persons (such as a criminal customer or someone who snuck in from outside), and employers do not function as their employees' insurer. Your employer is not required to reimburse you.

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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