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Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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After working for a startup company for 6 months with a promise

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After working for a startup company for 6 months with a promise of equity, an employment contract and wages, I never received any contract for such work but worked for 6 months remotely as directed and controller by the founder of the company. During this time a laptop was sent to me to use while working for the company - when I asked for a contract for the final time 2 weeks ago, I was denied and asked to resign. At that time they said I should keep the laptop as a form of compensation - now they're stating that the laptop has to be returned by this afternoon or it will be reported as stolen. I believe I have a right to keep this laptop, at the very least as a lien against the settlement offers we are now trying to negotiate, and that forcing me to either sign the agreement waiving all my rights to pursue this matter or face a police report of stolen property may constitute extortion. I need to understand what the options are specific to the state of California.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

What question do you have regarding your situation?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I was asking about the laptop.

Unfortunately, the company can require that you return company property after you have been terminated. However, the company cannot withold any wages that you have earned before you return the laptop.

If the company did actually state that you could keep the laptop as a form of compensation, then this could be a binding contractual promise, but it would be very helpful to your case for keeping the laptop if you had any recording of their statement that you could keep it.

Otherwise, it would be 'your word against the company's' that you could keep the laptop, and since most employers do not give company property to their employees as a form of compensation or otherwise, it would be difficult to prove that the company actually agreed to let you keep the laptop.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX had better news to give you, but I hope you appreciate a direct and honest answer to your question.
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