If I have 2 terminated employees who refuse to return their uniforms, can I sue them for either the return of the uniforms or their monetary vale?

UPDATED: Jul 27, 2011

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If I have 2 terminated employees who refuse to return their uniforms, can I sue them for either the return of the uniforms or their monetary vale?

I invested my personal money in these uniforms. I’m not necessarily running a business but providing a service. Upon their termination they were told to return uniforms and refuse. What can I do?

Asked on July 27, 2011 Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If it was clear at the time of either hiring or when the employee's received their uniforms (so they could have chosen to not receive them, even if that meant giving up the job) that they'd be expected to return them on termination, then you may have grounds for a lawsuit. On the other hand, if the employees were not previously told they had to return them, you probably do not have grounds--with clothing, it's not a given or necessarily obvious that employees have to return them, since people do not very often receive or wear another's used clothing. (Uniforms are different from other work equipment, like laptops, in that way.) Of course, even if you had grounds to sue for the uniforms, it's unlikely that doing so, given the cost of a lawsuit (even if you represent yourself, there's a filing fee and it takes time) is worthwhile.

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