Are employers required to provide basic security for personal belongings?

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Are employers required to provide basic security for personal belongings?

My wallet and phone were recently stolen while I was at work. It is a retail environment, and my items were in the proper designated area. This area is completely open to the sales floor, and the items are kept in cubes that are open on the front side. There are no cameras, no locks, no doors, nothing. There had apparently been several thefts recently but they did not disclose it to all of the staff ( I was unaware). Are they held liable in any way for my stolen property or for their lack in providing any type of security? There are no signs posted anywhere.

Asked on August 8, 2011 Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, employers do not need to provide security for personal belongings; you bring your belongings to work at your risk.

However, if they knew of thefts and didn't disclose them, that failure to disclose could potentially make them liable, if you sued them, under the theory that they were negligent (careless) in not warning, since their failure to do so prevented you from taking action to protect yourself, such as by not bringing valuable to work. You would have to sue, however, to try to recover this, if they don't voluntarily compensate you. Also, if they know who did the first theft(s) but kept that person on, in a position to steal more, that could make them liable under a theory of negligent supervision.


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