I was hired as a marketing/social media/digital content manager for a company. They are a relatively new company, and when they hired me, I was the first person to be hired for the position. There was no pre-existing equipment I could use to complete my job.
In my interview, I mentioned that I run a side business as a wedding photographer. They asked me about what sort of camera equipment I use (my professional gear is valued at over $8000) and asked me if I would be able to use my own personal equipment if they hired me. I said to them "if you don't already have a camera, I can use mine at work until you get one for the company".
They hired me, and have made me use my own personal camera equipment every single day for the past 8 months. Every time I ask them when they will buy a "work camera" for me to use at work, they say they don't have the budget for it, and i'll have to keep using my own.
There have been many occasions when they have asked me to leave my own camera behind at work, so that they can continue to use it out of hours, and on days that I am on leave. I came back after a day off to find my tripod was broken, but no one in the company admitted that they did it. They also refuse to cover the cost of the repair. (It's a $400 tripod!).
My camera has now started to glitch, and often won't turn on/turns off in the middle of photoshoots. I finally put my foot down and said that I will not be bringing my camera to work any more, and they have to buy one. Now it seems as though they are going to fire me. (This isn't certain, but it seems to be going that way).
Can I ask for compensation for the use of my equipment for the past few months? I have had to buy a new camera for my wedding photography business, as the other camera is so run down now that I can't rely on it.
My contract stated very clearly that the company would provide me with the equipment I needed to fulfil my role - yet they haven't provided it.
I am located in Australia.