If my coat was stolen at work, can I hold my employer liable?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If my coat was stolen at work, can I hold my employer liable?

My job has a locker room but they are all occupied by other employees so those of us who don’t have locker hang out jackets on the coat rack in the back where only employees are allowed. Due to the negligence of the company not providing more lockers for us and not providing a more secure space to hang out belongings my jacket was stolen today. It’s winter and I have no other heavy jacket and I was cold walking home because my boyfriend had to being me a light jacket I owned. So I want to know is the company responsible for reimbursing me for my belongings as they have not provided us all with a more secure area for our belongings

Asked on January 22, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot. Your employer is not responsible for your personal items unless they undertake to be responsible for them. Otherwise, the rule is that a company is not liable for the loss or theft of a worker's items. The fact is that, your employer does not insurer your belongings and a business is not automaticaly responsible for thefts or losses occuring on its property, merely because it's on their property. Personal items are left at a work at the employee's own risk. Providing lockers is a courtesy, not a legal requirement. Accordingy, absent outright negligence such as leaving the back door being left open, a company cannot be held liable for the loss of a worker's coat, gloves, wallet, car keys, etc.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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