How long am I required to keep an employee’s belongings after their termination?

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How long am I required to keep an employee’s belongings after their termination?

I fired an employee and she has not come in to pick up her belongings and they are just sitting in the HR office. It has been over a month. I haven’t heard from her at all. Can I throw it away? I should also mention that we live an at-will state.

Asked on August 20, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

To be safe, send her a written communication, sent some ways you can prove delivery (e.g. text, email, and, if you have an address, Fed Ex or certified mail) reiterating how long she has left her belongings there and you prior efforts to have her get them, stating that you did not agree to store them for her, and stating specifically that unless she retrieves them within twenty (20) days, you will discard them. Then if she does not comply, throw them out, but retain the communications and proof of delivery.


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