Burr & Forman

10.20.2020   |   Articles / Publications

Emily Mack Discusses Employer Policies Related to Company Property Damages for SHRM Online

For an October 14, 2020 article by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), Emily Mack offered insights on employment policies related to the employee-caused damage to company property and an employer’s ability to recoup compensation.

A policy regarding company property should emphasize that any equipment provided to the employee remains the sole and exclusive property of the company, Mack said. Workers should be required to notify a company representative within a specified time in the event of any damage, theft or other loss of company property, and the policy should provide notice to employees of any disciplinary action that could result from failing to safeguard company equipment. Mack also suggested that the policy define circumstances in which the employee would be required to pay for the cost of repairing or replacing the property, such as intentional misconduct or failing to return property at the end of employment.

When enforcing such policies, Mack said “employers should remember that accidents happen. Ordinary wear and tear or losses that occur in the normal course of business are simply a cost of doing business.”

In addition to considerations for existing employees, businesses will also want to explore options when they don’t receive property from departing employees upon termination, and many are tempted to withhold final paychecks until that property is returned. “As appealing as this may sound, many states have laws that require that final paychecks be paid within a specified time,” Mack said. “Employers who violate these laws – regardless of the reasons – subject themselves to civil liability, as well as criminal liability. As such, it is never acceptable to condition the delivery of a final paycheck on the return of property.”

For the full article, please click here.

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