Is my former company acting illegally?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is my former company acting illegally?

I was recently fired from my company for not following expense policy properly. I did not know what I was doing was wrong. I had a corporate apartment, which I Airbnb’ed when away. The company is

trying to make me pay them the amount I earned which does not factor in the taxes I paid, cleaning service, time, etc. They somehow obtained my Airbnb rental records without my permission and when I requested the documents they have, they did not respond. This is the biggest issue. They now have put the amount on my closed corporate credit card and making me pay it. There were also other expenses that they are now trying to make me pay for reasons I was not aware of, although some are in the expense policy which I did not fully read.

Asked on October 24, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, they are not acting illegally--you did. You took company property (something they owned or leased) and used it to profit personally. That is legally the same as renting out a company car, letting someone lease your company-provided phone from you, or moonlighting using company tools and equipment. It is a form of theft, and they did not need to tell you that it was wrong because it is so obviously against the law--for example, if a friend let you stay at his or her house, would you think you could rent it out while they were aware for the weekend? This situation is as obviously illegal.
You legally have to repay them everything you earned from the illegal use of their property. You are not entitled to any offset for costs in doing what was a criminal act. You are fortunate they are not pressing criminal charges against you, which they could legally do.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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