What can I do if an employee fails to return company equipment upon termination?

  • If a departing employee fails to return company equipment, such as a laptop or a mobile phone that you provided to them so that they can perform in their role, it may cause significant costs to your business.
  • You may think that the most straightforward solution would be to deduct the cost of the equipment from the employee’s final salary payment. However, a deduction from an employee’s wages is only lawful in limited circumstances.
  • In the first instance, ask the employee to return any company equipment before they leave the Company. Perhaps create a leaver’s checklist to check that this has been actioned.
  • Where an employee has failed to return the equipment after several requests from the Company, you may be able to deduct the cost of the property from the employee’s final salary payment, provided that you have a clause written into your employment contract that states a deduction can be made, or an agreement by the employee through prior written consent.
  • If your employment contract does not include a clause to deduct the cost, but there is a clause requiring them to return company equipment then you can bring a civil claim for breach of contract.
  • Please be aware that if you deduct the cost of company property kept by a leaving employee from their final pay in the absence of these conditions, the employee may be able to bring a claim of unlawful deduction of wages against you.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us below: