If my coat was stolen at work, can I hold my employer liable?

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If my coat was stolen at work, can I hold my employer liable?

My job has a locker room but they are all occupied by other employees so those of us who don’t have locker hang out jackets on the coat rack in the back where only employees are allowed. Due to the negligence of the company not providing more lockers for us and not providing a more secure space to hang out belongings my jacket was stolen today. It’s winter and I have no other heavy jacket and I was cold walking home because my boyfriend had to being me a light jacket I owned. So I want to know is the company responsible for reimbursing me for my belongings as they have not provided us all with a more secure area for our belongings

Asked on January 22, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot. Your employer is not responsible for your personal items unless they undertake to be responsible for them. Otherwise, the rule is that a company is not liable for the loss or theft of a worker's items. The fact is that, your employer does not insurer your belongings and a business is not automaticaly responsible for thefts or losses occuring on its property, merely because it's on their property. Personal items are left at a work at the employee's own risk. Providing lockers is a courtesy, not a legal requirement. Accordingy, absent outright negligence such as leaving the back door being left open, a company cannot be held liable for the loss of a worker's coat, gloves, wallet, car keys, etc.


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