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Employer won't return tools and now they have been sold

Discussion in 'Termination: Firing & Resignation' started by Gbt78, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. Gbt78

    Gbt78 Law Topic Starter Guest

    Jurisdiction:
    Vermont
    I was let go from my job and my employer would not return my tools because of money that I owed. I didn't want to start any conflict so I let them hold the tools. Now that I'm trying to give them the money I owed they are being hostile and very angry with me and are almost refusing the money by telling me it will have to be in a few days then the same thing in a few days. I believe they have sold or moved the tools and that's why they are acting this way
    There was no lien filled by them on the tools and the money owed was around. $1600 and the tool value is around $25,0000. What are my legal rights and what should my next step be.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    This VT State Agency may be able to help you:
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    Can My Employer Do That? | Vermont Department of Labor
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    Wage & Hour | Vermont Department of Labor
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    This MIGHT apply to your tools being withheld:

    Wage Deductions

    The only deductions that may be made from employees’ wages are those, which are permitted or required by law. Those would include taxes, Social Security, etc. and, with the employee’s written authorization or sufficient employer documentation, cost of goods or services provided by the employer to the employee for which repayment was intended.

    Lacking a statutory provision, which would require or permit employers to do so, employers may not deduct or withhold wages for such things as:

    An employee’s refusal or inability to provide or sign documents such as I-9 forms, tax withholding forms;
    An employee’s refusal to provide a notice of or reason for termination;
    An employee’s refusal to sign a document written by the employer;
    An employee’s inability or refusal to accept the wages in person (postal delivery is an acceptable means for the employer to comply with the timely payment of wage law);
    The maintenance of uniforms;
    Poor job performance;
    Alleged shortages, bad checks or credit cards;
    Destruction of or missing property;

    Allegations of damages and improper payment of wages are separate issues and must be dealt with, if necessary, in separate court actions.

    Recovery of alleged damages may be possible through civil action, whereas illegal withholding of wages is in violation of Vermont’s criminal statutes and criminal prosecution is possible.
     
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  3. Gbt78

    Gbt78 New Member

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    Thank you
    I've been in contact with a lawyer and I'm researching all possible avenues.
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Another possible win for the good guys.
    Let us know what happens.
    You've been screwed.
    Now you get compensated for your losses.

    By the way, when your employer refused to return YOUR property a very special bailment may have been created. If so, the employer had to exercise extraordinary care in protecting your property.

    Now bailment aside, your employer may have committed any number of thefts or conversion crimes. Bottom line, with $25,000 of tools "missing", I suspect the prosecutor would consider it a felony of some sort. It damn sure would be in Texas, Iowa, Illinois, Florida, or the other states I'm licensed to practice. Unfortunately, I'm not that familiar with VT.
    Anyway, your VT lawyer will guide you now.
     
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  5. Gbt78

    Gbt78 New Member

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  6. Gbt78

    Gbt78 New Member

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    They are now returning my tools and are acting very shady. I'm 1500 miles away and my wife is going to pick them up , pay the money owed and as the said be done. Should my wife take a police escort with her or should she have any paperwork for them to sign about damaged or missing tools or equipment? I'm perturbed I'm not there.
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Do you have a written inventory of what should be contained in your toolbox(es)?

    If not, see if you can create one.

    Do the best you can.

    Yes, it'll be a god idea to ask the local police to meet with your wife at the location when she gets to retrieve your tools.

    If they can't, or won't cooperate, no worries.

    I doubt anyone would attack a woman, but she might be able to have a friend go with her.

    Yes, if she could get them to sign a receipt for the tools, that is useful.

    Of course, she should also sign a copy and leave one with the company.

    It might be helpful if she could take pictures of the tools before she takes them into her custody.

    If you choose to pay them, get a signed/dated release saying something like: We accept $$$ as full and final payment for the debt of $$$ by JOE JOHNSON, from his wife, JUDY JOHNSON, and have returned ALL property we were withholding from JOE JOHNON, this 31st day of DECEMBER, 2020 in Somewhere, VT.

    Signed for company _________
    Signed for JOE JOHNSON ________
    Witnessed by _________
     
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  8. Gbt78

    Gbt78 New Member

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    I really appreciate all your help. I'm glad to be getting everything back and the lawyer I was talking to is ready to pursue legal action against them if needed. The police say they can't go with my wife but one of my very big ex military friends is going with her and besides she had her enhanced concealed carry permit and has been trained well. If there is any way I can repay or help you out just let me know
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You've already repaid me, friend, by simply thanking me.
    If you run into someone you can help in the future, just pay it forward.
     
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  10. Gbt78

    Gbt78 New Member

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    Army judge I'm sorry to bother you I was wondering about something. My wife has possession of the tools , all appear to be there she had a paper drawn up as you had said, they had a very similar one to. Payment was made and I was very specific about her getting a recipt for the payment and in the communication from them it stated they would provide a receipt and then they refused to give a recipt to my wife. The told her they already gave me a recipt but what the gave me was an invoice of amount due. I fell like the recipt would be givin after amount do has been satisfied. The signed the paper saying amount paid in full , is there anything shady or underhanded that can come from them not supplying a receipt?
     
  11. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Probably NOT, but peopel try odd things.

    The exchange went well, you've documented it as best you can, I think you're safe.
    If he does due, you have cancelled check, or money order tracking numbers.
    Plus, someone signed something appearing to acknowledge receipt of funds a spayment in full.

    I suspect its over, and all parties are alive and well.

    Just hang on to everything, make notes about this, and keep all paperwork in a safe place, just in case.
     
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  12. Gbt78

    Gbt78 New Member

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    Once again much appreciated. We have the property back and although I can't explain a reason for there actions of late, I know first hand that karma has a way of kicking you when your not flying straight. Anymore out of them and the VT lawyer takes over my end. Thanks a million for the advice it helped more thanI can say.
     

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