Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Expenses and Personal Data on Company Laptop. Employer-Georgia; Employee-Louisiana

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    4

    Default Expenses and Personal Data on Company Laptop. Employer-Georgia; Employee-Louisiana

    Until recently, I was employed on a W2 basis by a firm based in Atlanta, GA, while I live in New Orleans, LA. I've traveled many times to Atlanta to work, but also done a great deal of work for the company at home. I was informed on Nov. 17th that I was being "let go". There was some discussion of severance, but it was unclear to me exactly what they intended. I was pretty much in shock and didn't ask all of the questions i should have. To date, I've received nothing in the mail.

    Prior to being let go, I was directed by my employer to purchase - on my personal credit card - travel to Atlanta for a team mtg. As I would be spending Thanksgiving in Oregon with family, at two weeks out, I purchased a multi-city itinerary of one-way flights, structuring my travel around the business trip to Atlanta: New Orleans -> Atlanta; Atlanta -> Portland; Portland -> New Orleans. This itinerary cost me $1,117.20. In an effort at equitability, at the same time, I priced RT travel from New Orleans to Atlanta, capturing that info. I then submitted that figure for reimbursement (My manager and another "approver" okayed that "hypothetical" expense, but the final approver did not). later, during the termination call, my manager said he'd take care of that, and in fact, that submitted expense was paid to me.

    the problem is that, the cancellation of my attendance in Atlanta caused me to restructure my itinerary at short lead-time (two days prior to the flight to Atlanta), which after $400 of change fees and a now higher fare, forced me to pay an additional $57.60, bringing the total cost of my travel from New Orleans to Portland and back to $1,174.80. At the two-week lead-time at which I purchased the original itinerary, that flight would have cost $400-$500.

    The morning after the termination call, I found, that when I tried to go online to rearrange my travel plans, I was locked out of the laptop. It was also my intention to recover a few personal files on that machine, which I was unable to do.

    I sent an email to my manager and his manager, who was also on the call - asking for the opportunity to recover my data. I also asked to be paid the difference between what travel from New Orleans to Oregon would have cost and what it actually cost, based on their instructing me to purchase travel to Atlanta and then canceling that trip: (allowing for the higher end of my travel cost) $1,174.60 - $500.00 = $674.80. I've gotten no response to that email, and I've heard nothing yet from HR.

    Just wondering what, if any, action I may have. I'm wondering if it may be possible to establish venue in New Orleans small claims court for the expenses. My guess is that I am out of luck on recovering my data, but I'm interested in any input this group may have.

    Thanks very much,

    N1UK

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    California
    Posts
    12,741

    Default

    Easy stuff first. The employer owns the laptop. The employer owns everything on THEIR laptop. This is "black letter" law. You might not like but the courts are very clear on this point. Smart people NEVER put personal information on someone else's equipment. I am sorry this is not the answer you are looking for. This is a very general rule that covers more then computer equipment. If you do not own it then do not use it for personal purposes. Ever.

    Harder stuff. You have at best a he-said, she-said situation on the travel stuff. You can write letters, send email or take them to court and hope the other side looks like the judges ex. You chances of winning are not nothing but not great. Complicating factor. It sounded like you were flying your family with you. That at best would have been taxable wages since there is nothing in there that IRS would recognize as a legitimate business purpose. That does not kill your claim but if I was the other side I would use it to throw sand in judge's face. Start with any actual paper you have supporting your position. No paper means no case. The legal burden of proof is on you, not the employer.

    Employment (absent a contract) is "at will". Almost any employer can fire almost any employee without warning for any reason, or no reason at all.

    Sorry if I missed anything. Long posts put me to sleep.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,606

    Default

    was there some reason (other than convenience) that you couldn't have kept the same itinerary when you found out how large the change fees were? It seems it was a $457 choice that you made to cancel the Atlanta flight. How long was your stop in Atlanta for the meeting?

    If the employer paid the original expense (which it sounds like they did) and didn't pre-approve the changes (after you were terminated), I don't see where you have much of a case as you still has use of the ticket(s). Inconveniently, sure! But still usable. So personally I think you will have a hard time selling that your prior owner owes you for decisions that you made.

    And I totally agree that anything on your laptop that was personal is now gone. Get a Google Docs account rather than putting stuff on your employer's equipment.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DAW View Post
    Easy stuff first. The employer owns the laptop. The employer owns everything on THEIR laptop. This is "black letter" law. You might not like but the courts are very clear on this point. Smart people NEVER put personal information on someone else's equipment. I am sorry this is not the answer you are looking for. This is a very general rule that covers more then computer equipment. If you do not own it then do not use it for personal purposes. Ever.

    Harder stuff. You have at best a he-said, she-said situation on the travel stuff. You can write letters, send email or take them to court and hope the other side looks like the judges ex. You chances of winning are not nothing but not great. Complicating factor. It sounded like you were flying your family with you. That at best would have been taxable wages since there is nothing in there that IRS would recognize as a legitimate business purpose. That does not kill your claim but if I was the other side I would use it to throw sand in judge's face. Start with any actual paper you have supporting your position. No paper means no case. The legal burden of proof is on you, not the employer.

    Employment (absent a contract) is "at will". Almost any employer can fire almost any employee without warning for any reason, or no reason at all.

    Sorry if I missed anything. Long posts put me to sleep.


    Apologies for the long post. I appreciate your reading and taking the time to reply.

    Your response with regard to the laptop is not surprising: it's what I expected. Nothing on the laptop I can't live without, but a few things I'd like to have. Yes,employment was "at will".


    No, my family was not flying with me; I was flying alone.

    The company required each consultant to purchase their own non-refundable airfare ad submit travel expenses for reimbursement. Here are the basics:

    -I was directed to purchase travel to Atlanta for a business meeting.

    -I structured my travel around that directive with non-refundable tickets as we had been instructed to do.

    -Two days before the first leg of travel, I was laid off.

    -I canceled the MSY-ATL and ATL-PDX legs of my itinerary, for which I was charged $200 per segment by the airline.

    -I then purchased a one-way fare MSY-PDX three days prior to departure, which was quite pricey.

    The end result of all of this, is that I spent nearly $1,200 for RT travel between New Orleans and Portland, which I could have purchased for about $500.

    I do have the email directing me to buy travel and all of the receipts for this. It's not worth it to travel to Atlanta to sue in small claims, but I would file here in New Orleans, if there is justification for that here.

    It's been more than two weeks since my separation, and I've received no calls, emails or snail-mail from my employer, so I'm not certain if I was fired or laid off (they said "let go"on the phone). Nothing yet on Cobra or severance, and I can no longer access the company payroll system. I typically was paid on the 30th of each month, but there's been was no deposit since 10/30 (laid off or whatever 11/17). I did find that my medical insurance was canceled the day I was let go, as I am currently dealing with a minor medical issue.
    Last edited by No1UKnow; 12-02-2017 at 03:22 PM.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    4

    Default Thanks...

    Quote Originally Posted by hr for me View Post
    was there some reason (other than convenience) that you couldn't have kept the same itinerary when you found out how large the change fees were? It seems it was a $457 choice that you made to cancel the Atlanta flight. How long was your stop in Atlanta for the meeting?

    If the employer paid the original expense (which it sounds like they did) and didn't pre-approve the changes (after you were terminated), I don't see where you have much of a case as you still has use of the ticket(s). Inconveniently, sure! But still usable. So personally I think you will have a hard time selling that your prior owner owes you for decisions that you made.

    And I totally agree that anything on your laptop that was personal is now gone. Get a Google Docs account rather than putting stuff on your employer's equipment.
    All good input. Thanks HR...


    We were to be in Atlanta two days and nights.

    I paid everything up-front.

    I was able to cancel the hotel with no penalty, as I was laid off 48 hours prior to check in.

    Changes to non-refundable tickets have a $200 penalty.

    Interestingly, I could have kept the ATL-PDX leg as it was, as I maintained a similar arrival time in Portland on the same day as the original itinerary and ended up having to fly through Atlanta anyway.

    Please see my response above, for more detail.

    Thanks again...
    Last edited by No1UKnow; 12-02-2017 at 03:33 PM. Reason: Added a couple of details

  6. #6
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    38,395

    Default

    You were instructed to fly to Atlanta. Period. The rest was all your own. Family or no family, you did not make the other arrangements at your employer's behest or for their benefit.

    The costs are all on you. Your employer is not responsible for the extra costs you incurred.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    4

    Default Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by cbg View Post
    You were instructed to fly to Atlanta. Period. The rest was all your own. Family or no family, you did not make the other arrangements at your employer's behest or for their benefit.

    The costs are all on you. Your employer is not responsible for the extra costs you incurred.

    Thanks. I appreciate the straight talk and tough love.

    Regards,

    N1UK

Similar Threads

  1. Minimum expenses employer incurs on an employee in New York
    By wideeyedwanderer in forum HR Forum for Employers, Managers, & Human Resources
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 04-07-2013, 12:22 PM
  2. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-12-2010, 06:26 PM
  3. Loss of personal data Texas
    By michaelchristphr in forum Hiring and Firing
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 12-09-2008, 06:10 AM
  4. Personal Use of Public Employee Georgia
    By jmstone in forum Georgia Labor Laws
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-11-2006, 12:38 PM
  5. Replies: 13
    Last Post: 03-14-2006, 01:14 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •