General Question

choreplay's avatar

What should I do about a former employee refusing to return company property?

Asked by choreplay (6295points) March 1st, 2011

A former employee that left under amiable terms is giving me excuses why she won’t turn in the main building magnet key. First she told me it was the one I gave to another employee, which I had a clear enough memory to know that wasn’t the case and confirmed such with the other employee. Let me give you two points about my interaction with this employee to give you a feel of what it was like. She always had this cavalier “I will do what I please attitude”, half of her responsibilities she blew off, giving me excuse after excuse, but what she did she did well. The day she left, she took the liberty to go into her own employee file and shred about half the file.
I have a verbal agreement to pay her a small commission on some work she reeled in that hasn’t been paid yet. So here’s the dilemma for me, here I am prepared to follow through on my obligation to her, and bit my tongue on various things to make sure this was an amiable divide, but she is giving me flippant “sorry I lost the key magnet”, which will cost me $25. It’s not outside reason that she could have made copies to the other keys and still has access to the office, which will also cost me a lock changing fee if I consider this a risk. What should I do?????

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10 Answers

BarnacleBill's avatar

Change the locks as a cost of doing business. Better to be safe than “win”. It’s not worth the drama, and sends a message to your other employees that you don’t screw around with things like this. Deduct the $25 lost key fee from the money you owe her for the contract work.

crazykookycat's avatar

What BarnacleBill said, only I’d charge her for the lock change as well, or renege on the verbal promise unless the key is returned before you change the locks (especially since the contract hasn’t even paid yet, who knows what kind of customer she’s brought your way).

Whatever you do, I’d change those locks.

You should charge her a shredder fee, too. lol! Just kidding, that’s a bit far.

marinelife's avatar

Do what BarnacleBill said.

john65pennington's avatar

For you and your companies sake, just change the locks and forget it.

She may never come back to do damage to your business, but this does not prevent one of her friends from entering your office and stealing whatever they please.

For your own protection and possible future loss, call the police and make a report. By doing this, you are covering yourself, if she does return and enters illegaly. Your police report will be good evidence to use in court, if it comes down to this. Protect yourself.

choreplay's avatar

@john65pennington, Are you saying make a report on her not returning the magnet key? Can I do that?

john65pennington's avatar

Season of Fall, yes sir. Call the police and tell them you want to make a Matter of Record Report. The officer will come to you and make the report and give you a card with your report number on it. Your situation falls maybe under a minor theft or better still a breach of trust.

Austinlad's avatar

@BarnacleBill could not be more correct!

jca's avatar

How does an employee have access to the Personnel files?

choreplay's avatar

@jca she was administrative assistant/office manager.

SuppRatings's avatar

She probably lost or threw away the key. As the employer, that is your liability. It would be impossible for her to copy the key as it is encrypted. Thus, the only thing you have to worry about is if she actually still has it and breaks in with it. If that happens, those keys have unique ID’s and shed be arrested.

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