If the restaurant I worked at burned down and I had all my tools/books inside that I used to perform my work, is my employer responsible to reimburse me for the lost items?

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If the restaurant I worked at burned down and I had all my tools/books inside that I used to perform my work, is my employer responsible to reimburse me for the lost items?

It comes to almost $3000 worth of tools and books. I am fearful that I will not get any money for the items. They are not planning on rebuilding and it was called a total loss by the fire department.

Asked on February 4, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, the employer is not responsible to reimburse you for those items except as indicated below; otherwise, the employer is not your insurer and does not reimburse you for losses (which is why you should have your own insurance if you  have valuables).
The employer would only be liable if the employer were at fault in causing the fire (e.g. arson by the employer, to collect on insurance; or unreasonable carelessness on the part of some employee who caused the fire [e.g. a waiter who moved a lit candle next to drapes]); in that case, the fault would lead to or support liability, though you'd have to sue to get the money (and prove the fault in court) if the employer won't pay.


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