What are the requirements of returning personal property after being fired?

UPDATED: Jun 7, 2012

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What are the requirements of returning personal property after being fired?

I was fired last week. I wasn’t able to gather my things and they would be sent to me. I recieved them today but a few things are missing. I believe they were thrown out. What are they required to do? Can I make them replace the items if they are not sent? There are just two things that I care that were not included in my stuff. I know for a fact that 1 was thrown out. I just want to know what they are required to do. When I asked for them back, the HR person was becoming difficult and snarky. It wasn’t their property. It wasn’t like I was allowed to pack my own things.

Asked on June 7, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

An employer may not take or destroy an employee's personal property--period. If they did, whether intentionally (deliberately) or negligently (carelessly), they would be liable for the cost to replace.  (Though only for the economic cost--there is no liability for sentimental or emotional value.) If the employer refuses to compensate or reimburse you, you'd have to sue them to seek compensation; one possibility is to sue in small claims court, where you could act as your own attorney, saving on legal fees.

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