How can I recover my tools from my former employer after I have been fired?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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How can I recover my tools from my former employer after I have been fired?

My ex-employer has removed my tool box and is saying that I owe him money. My tool box is valued at $150,000. What’s the law regarding tools that are used for employment. Without them I can’t retain employment

in my field.

Asked on September 12, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you owned the tools (i.e. you bought them and were not reimbursed for them by the employer) he committed theft. Even if the police, etc. choose to not be helpful, you could sue him for the value of the tools. Even when a former employee owes an employer money, the employer may NOT simply take his possessions: the employer's legal option to recover money is to sue the employee, which he could have done. So you may sue him for the value of the tools (and he may be able to settle the case by returning them to you); he could, if he has a legitimate claim, countersue you for whatever you owe him.

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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