If your personal belongings are stolen at work, is your employer responsible for reimbursing you?

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If your personal belongings are stolen at work, is your employer responsible for reimbursing you?

My mother told me her $200 iPod was stolen at her workplace. All employees keep their belongings downstairs. The iPod was in her purse but nothing else was taken, so it appears that there was an intent on strictly taking this sole item. There are no lockers to keep employee items safe and secure. A camera use to be installed but has been uninstalled for unknown reasons, however there is a camera on the steps going to and from downstairs. I do not know of a sign stating the company isn’t responsible for any stolen belongings.

Asked on May 28, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

She probably has no right to reimbursement. She could only sue if someone working for the facility took the camera and she could prove it, or her employer had in some fashion taken it on themselves to guard or watch her property. The mere fact that property is stolen at a company location does not, without more, make it liable for the loss. Absent some type of negligence on the employer's part (and not providing lockers does not qualify; many employers do not), employees take in personal possessions at their own risk. The best place to keep personal belongings is in a locked drawer - if your employer doesn't provide this facility then now would be a good time to request it as you have proof that belongings are not safe when left in areas that can be accessed by others.


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