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View Full Version : Former Employer will not return personal items Michigan


lambykins00
01-20-2008, 06:56 PM
I worked as a manager for a rental chain in Michigan. I was fired but it just so happened that they day they fired me, I had taken my car to a body shop, and needed a ride home that day.

I did not know I was being fired so I had to wait across the street for a half hour until somebody could come pick me up.

I had my personal flat screen TV in the store because I was using it for a video surveilance of a section of the store.

I did not want to carry my TV for a half hour while I waited for a ride so I told them I would be back to get it later. Also, when I came back I returned a movie I had rented out.

The assistant manager refused to return my TV and kept it hidden until I paid a 14 dollar and 80 cent late fee.

I do not care about the late fee, but I was very angry at the fact that I was not allowed access to my personal belongings upon being fired, and the company is threatening to hold them until I pay a late fee. This particular company does not require customers or employee's to pay their late fee's. The only policy is an employee cannot rent another movie until their late fee is paid.

Is it legal for them to hold my TV? Also, I tried to have my father go inside to get it so as not to cause any awkwardness between myself and the employees in the store. The Assistant manager refused to give him the TV either and called the police on him. My father said "I cannot believe you are holding a 250 dollar flatscreen TV for a 14 dollar late fee."

The employee responded to my father and in the presence of 5 or 6 customers whome I used to wait on, "yah well 250 dollars doesnt come close to the ammount of money he took from this store"

I have never taken money from this company and I was never written up for taking money and there has never been any proof that I have ever taken money. I was fired on suspsicion of theft but they did not write me up for it because they had no proof because it was not happening. But now I was embarassed in front of a store I used to manage, by having the police called on me and being accused of theft in front of my father and other customers when all I was doing was returning a single rented movie I still had out, and picking up my TV and a jacket.

Are there any legal routes I can take? I cannot imagine that it is okay for a company to keep my personal things. And I cannot imagine that it is okay for an employee to tell my father and other customers that I was stealing from the store when there is no proof and it is simply not true.

Thanks for any help!

Pattymd
01-21-2008, 06:50 AM
Your check cannot be "held" past the regularly scheduled pay day for the pay period which included your last day. There is no violation of the Michigan wage payment law until after that day comes and goes.
http://www.michigan.gov/dleg/0,1607,7-154-27673_32352-41936--,00.html
http://www.michigan.gov/dleg/0,1607,7-154-27673_32352-41927--,00.html

"Okay" is subjective. What we're talking about here is legal vs. illegal. It is NOT illegal for the employer to tell your father that you "stole" from the company, even if they are wrong. It MIGHT be slander IF they 1) knew it was not true; 2) it was said in front of other people and; 3) you suffer damages because of the lie.

File your unemployment claim immediately.

BTW, why were you using YOUR equipment to do security surveillance? :confused:

lambykins00
01-29-2008, 01:53 PM
[QUOTE=Pattymd;947241]Your check cannot be "held" past the regularly scheduled pay day for the pay period which included your last day. There is no violation of the Michigan wage payment law until after that day comes and goes.


That day has now come and gone. I have received my last paycheck in full, yet they still refuse to let me collect my personal belongings until I pay a "late fee" of 14 dollars. Is this legal?

Can any company or person just go around holding onto other peoples personal property until they get what they want? Could I go to another rental store within the same company, set up an account, and rent 500 dollars worth of items and then tell them I won't return them until they give me my personal belongings back? Where does it end?

It is my belief that they should return my personal property immediately and if they want to collect on a rental late fee, they should send me a bill.

I have a police report from the city where this store is, stating that I was there to pick up my TV. And the officer even asked if they would give me the TV back and they refused stating that the District Manager told them to not give my things back under any circumstances until the 14 dollar late fee is paid.

cyjeff
01-29-2008, 03:04 PM
This is two mules fighting over a turnip.

Pay the $14 bucks and be done with it.

If you are trying to figure out a way that this will allow you to sue the company, you should know that no lawyer in their right mind will waste their time on this case.

If you take them to small claims court for the value of the TV and jacket, the judge will make you pay the fine anyway.

You gain nothing by trying to prove who is more wrong, here.

cyjeff
01-29-2008, 03:07 PM
One more thing...

There is a huge difference, legally, between the situation you are in and the knowing behavior to rent items for the sole purpose of holding them hostage.

First, you would have to sign a contract to rent... I am sure that covers this contingency... and they would just bill the credit card you used for proof.

Listen... obviously, you are trying to get your stuff back without paying and/or seeing the person you would have to pay. Time to cowboy up and pay your fine, get your stuff and move on.

Geez... don't you have anything else to waste your energy on?

lambykins00
01-29-2008, 07:23 PM
well like I said, I don't care about 14 dollars. I don't even want to sue really, I just don't think its right to keep someones personal belongings, no matter how insignificant. What if it was expensive jewelry or a wedding band I had left at the office by mistake? Or a laptop with all my personal files on it?

When it becomes something of sentimental value it suddenly sounds worse and gets attention. But the fact is, it does not belong to them, and they are not giving it back to me.

To me this is the same as theft. Especially since I made the hour long drive to drop off their dollar DVD and pick up my 250 dollar TV which I was kind enough to let the company use. So I drop off their things, expecting to get my own back, and they hide it from me.

And also, there is no signed contracts with rentals at this company, nor do they make ANYONE pay late fee's. They just ask that you put something on your late, if you say "no" they rent to you anway.

Betty3
01-29-2008, 07:45 PM
If you want your belongings back, I would just pay the $14.00. It will save you a lot of additional hazzle.

lambykins00
01-29-2008, 07:56 PM
I guess I am not concerned with who is more wrong. I am concerned with what is legal. It is not legal to hold a last paycheck or deduct from a paycheck without written consent from what I have read on these posts.

This could be seen as a form of witholding a final paycheck without my consent.

If them knowlingly having posession of my belongings after I have requested them returned on several occasions and even had a police officer ask them to return it, then I do not see them having any legal standing to not return it.

It is not, to my knowlegde, illegal to have a late fine with this company, and choose not to pay it. As there was no contract, written agreement, credit card required or ANYTHING to have an account. You don't even need your ID.


This may seem petty but if they can take legal action against persons who fail to return their items, I should have that same right. Monies owed for a late fine should be dealt seperately than the return of each others personal properties. I should have a right to clear my office, or have my belongings mailed to me.

What would the advice be if there was no late fee? What if they were just refusing to give me my TV back because they were mad at me? What's the advice in this scenario?

What if it was reversed and I had one of their DVD's and they refused to give me my final paycheck until it was returned? The advice I have seen for this scenario is to file a complaint with the DOL. Is this a possibility for me?

cyjeff
01-29-2008, 08:03 PM
I guess I am not concerned with who is more wrong. I am concerned with what is legal. It is not legal to hold a last paycheck or deduct from a paycheck without written consent from what I have read on these posts.

This could be seen as a form of witholding a final paycheck without my consent.

No, it couldn't. Paychecks have specific law built around them. You leaving your monitor and jacket behind doesn't.


If them knowlingly having posession of my belongings after I have requested them returned on several occasions and even had a police officer ask them to return it, then I do not see them having any legal standing to not return it.

You look, but you don't see. If they were doing something illegal, the police officer wouldn't have asked them for anything. He would have TOLD them to return your stuff to you.

The fact that they told the officer no and he accepted that answer should have gone a long way to answering most of your questions.


It is not, to my knowlegde, illegal to have a late fine with this company, and choose not to pay it. As there was no contract, written agreement, credit card required or ANYTHING to have an account. You don't even need your ID.


This may seem petty but if they can take legal action against persons who fail to return their items, I should have that same right. Monies owed for a late fine should be dealt seperately than the return of each others personal properties. I should have a right to clear my office, or have my belongings mailed to me.

You might. The answer to that would be small claims court. This is a civil matter, not a criminal one. They have never disputed to whom the products belong.


What would the advice be if there was no late fee? What if they were just refusing to give me my TV back because they were mad at me? What's the advice in this scenario?

The same. You take them to small claims court.


What if it was reversed and I had one of their DVD's and they refused to give me my final paycheck until it was returned? The advice I have seen for this scenario is to file a complaint with the DOL. Is this a possibility for me

No. As I said above, pay and paychecks have a special set of laws, called, coincidentally "Labor Laws", built around them.

None of these laws concern the holding of personal property (NOT a paycheck) as security against a debt.

That is civil law. The DOL would, very politely, tell you to stop wasting their time.

lambykins00
01-29-2008, 08:30 PM
Thanks! These were great answers to some burning questions in my head.

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