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Questions on Misuse of Company Property

Misuse of company property can have serious consequences. In the absence of any policy or contract, it can lead to immediate termination of employment. When some is terminated for misuse of company property, it can often come like an unexpected blow and leave a person wondering about the law, leading to confusion and questions.

A few of the most commonly asked questions on cases related to misuse of company property are listed below.

In May, I was terminated from employment for misuse of company property. In March, the company notified me that too many personal calls were being made by me from work and I signed the notification. I did cut back on the calls but made a few in April. The list of phone calls was presented before HR at my termination meeting. I have filed for unemployment benefits and was told that I would not get paid till a telephone hearing later in the month. I understand that I may have lost my job because of my own fault and probably won’t be eligible for benefits. But is there anyway I can present my case in a way in which I can still get benefits? Can the examiner reduce my benefits?

In most cases, the examiner does not have the discretion to grant you only a part of your benefits. You are either eligible for benefits or not. You could argue that you substantially complied with your employer’s request and cut down on personal telephone calls. Though your telephone calls may have provided sufficient legal grounds for termination, they may not amount to you having to forego your benefits.

I work in Texas and found a company registration sticker in the trash and put it on my car. At that time, I didn’t know it belonged to the company truck. My boss saw it and asked for it. I gave the sticker to her. She said that she had taken a photograph and would give it in to corporate security and disciplinary measures would be taken. Does this constitute a misuse of corporate assets since it was found in the trash?

Based on the facts of this case, you could actually be made to pay other penalties if law enforcement finds out that you misused a vehicle registration sticker by putting it on a vehicle that was unregistered. Having said that, many assets that are thrown away on purpose can be taken by anyone who wants them. Yet, if a company lays down a policy that prevents employees from using its discarded material, the company is entitled to also enforce the policies.

But, you must remember that Texas is an employment “at will” state which means that an employer can terminate employees for almost any reason at all. This could even include reasons such as picking up objects from the trash even if there was no policy that prohibited such behavior. Now, if the employee was fired because of such an occurrence, as long as he or she was not indulging in unlawful conduct, he or she would be eligible for unemployment benefits. But if the employee is seen as using a vehicle registration as his or her own, it would amount to unlawful conduct and it could cost the employee unemployment benefits.

I work in Washington and was recently terminated after 28 years of exemplary performance. The company said that they saw an email between another co-worker and myself discussing the purchase of prescription medication. Although I said that the purchase was never made on company property, I was asked to go home and sent a termination letter the next day. The company policy says that misusing company email can include “up to termination.” I was not given a copy of the email that led to this incident and was told that the company had absolutely no tolerance to the sale of drugs. Since I have a clean record for the past 28 years, I expected to be counselled, suspended, or written up but not fired. I am completely shocked and want to know if I have a case for wrongful termination.

The company does not have to prove that the sale took place on company property to have grounds for termination. This is especially true if there is no employment contract in place that says specifically that you can only be terminated for cause. All your employer needs is a reasonable suspicion and the following two facts make the termination legal. One, that you talked about buying the medication. And two, that you did so using company email. From what is known of your case, it doesn’t look like you have a claim for wrongful termination.

There are several ways in which you can misuse company property unknowingly. However, as an employee, it is always better to be forewarned about the law so that you don’t have to deal with the repercussions of your actions later.

Ask an Employment Lawyer

Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 8091
Experience:  JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
4460311
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
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5 Employment Lawyers are Online Now

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Employment Lawyers are online & ready to help you now

Tina
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 7759
JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
Marsha411JD
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 10539
Licensed Attorney with 27 yrs. exp in Employment Law
Infolawyer
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 9785
Licensed attorney helping employers and employees.

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