What do I do with the belongings an employee left after being fired?

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What do I do with the belongings an employee left after being fired?

It’s been almost 30 days since termination of employee. Upon leaving he left tools, paperwork, etc behind. We called him immediately, left voicemail and text messages. No reply except a nasty text stating why did we leave his stuff outside. Which we didn’t, it was placed on our covered patio for an hour after he left. Once it was apparent he wouldn’t be coming back, we placed items back in our shop. I do not feel safe with him coming to our office to retrieve items. What are our options that are legal?

Asked on March 14, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can seek the guidance of your Department of Labor in California or if this person is a union member, you should speak with the union representative about having a neutral party of the union representative himself or herself pick up the items and give them to him. Either way, you need a record of items given over and affidavits signed by the neutral party and the recipient that he was handed his belongings. If these are not options you wish to pursue, and your company doesn't have an internal legal counsel or outside counsel, you may consider going that route for the lawyer to handle the transaction of submitting items and obtaining an affidavit of receipt so that your company and individual employees do not find themselves in a lawsuit later on. You may also consider using certified mail or a mail shipping service to send materials. Either way, you want evidence of what went out and evidence he signed for the items and that he agrees he received all that he left behind.


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