What are our responsibilities for returning a fired employee’s personal possessions?

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What are our responsibilities for returning a fired employee’s personal possessions?

The employee was fired and left the building without requesting or taking her personal possessions. Several days later she emailed an extensive list of items she claimed she had brought to the daycare center and placed in various rooms for the center to use (when she brought the items we thought they were donations since other employee had been donating items.) We do not want her back in the building. Can we box her things and give her a choice of several times to pick them up? Her list is too extensive to ship them to her. She lives 5 miutesn away from us, so travel is not an issue.

Asked on September 28, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I think that you are at a disadvantage here with the situation with this employee.  If she is claiming that the items were not donations and merely on loan for the time that she was employed, then you may indeed need to return them all.  You are in no position to assume anything here and with out any thing in writing I think that you may have no choice in the matter.  As for negotiating the return, I see no reason why you can not make an arrangement to have her pick them up rather ship them to her. You should make sure that you get receipts for the items.  One receipt listing all items is your best bet to insure that she will not come back later to dispute an item's return.  Good luck. 


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