Company can refuse to replace your tools

Can They Do That?

Your Money

January 11, 2004|By Carrie Masen-Draffen

I work for a major heating and air-conditioning company. I had to buy $3,000 worth of tools, including drills and torches, to perform my job. The tools were stolen, and the company refuses to replace them. Is this legal?

This answer's going to hurt. The company can legally refuse to replace the tools. On the flip side, if the tools had belonged to the company, and you lost them or they were stolen, the company couldn't legally ask you for replacement money. It's not unheard of for companies to require employees to have their own tools, especially if they are common ones. Unfortunately, you learned the hard way how costly that ownership could be.

Carrie Mason-Draffen is a columnist for Newsday in New York, a Tribune Publishing newspaper. Write to her in care of Your Money, Room 400, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611 or via e-mail at

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