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Unfortunately my personal MacBook's screen broke at work (fell off the table by accident). Now, I have been at this company (a startup) for 18 months and at the time my boss was keen on me using my personal computer. We have grown to a few more employees, and I don't think it is now fair - it has taken on significant wear and tear (and obviously a broken screen now).

Further, the MacBook is getting oldish, and there is some performance problems with one of software apps I use. I also use it a lot for personal use (photography etc). What should my next steps be?

  1. Ask my employer for the repairs?

  2. Ask for a new laptop (company would own it)?

  3. Any other option?

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    @KingDuken If the company required him to bring that device in, then any reasonable company would share part of the responsibility of what happens to it inside of the office. – さりげない告白 Aug 5 at 4:09
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    It doesn't help you, but years ago I worked for a guy who allowed the company to use his personal PC for work as it was a far better spec than anything they had (used as his desktop; he was the only user). The deal was that they would maintain and keep it up to date. When he left 5 years later, the only original part was the case, everything else being high end and purchased over the preceding few months. – Justin Aug 5 at 15:40
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You should certainly ask your employer for any charges against repair. Ideally they should oblige as your boss was aware (even insistent) on you using a personal equipment. Your case becomes strong as you have been already using it for 18 months now. But there's no reason to assume that your boss will comply.

I am assuming that nothing such must have been mentioned in your job offer, you may be denied any sorts of reimbursements. Employer owned equipments are generally covered under insurance, which wouldn't be the case for your personal equipment. Your best option would be to ask for charges against repairs.

Asking for a company owned equipment in this case (your second option), will likely come with its own limitations, such as you may not be allowed it to use outside of your office network or not having the ability to use it for personal work as you mentioned.

Any other option?

In my opinion, your best stance should be to request your boss to cover your any repairs. Using an equipment comes with an associated cost (procurement and maintenance) for a company which your employer hasn't incurred. You can state that you haven't been compensated by the company for it. The least you deserve it to get reimbursed for repairs against damages, wear and tear.

You should also ask your boss to provide you with a company owned equipment moving forward.

  • If by some bad luck they do refuse to cover the costs, then you can refuse to use your personal laptop for work anymore. – David K Aug 5 at 13:22
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    @DavidK Any sane boss/manager wouldn't in such a scenario. Any sane employee shouldn't consent to continue using their personal machine despite getting refused for repair costs. – Nimesh Neema Aug 5 at 14:13
  • Agreed, especially since if the OP is denied repair costs, then everyone in the office will now need company-furnished laptops. – David K Aug 5 at 14:18
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Ask my employer for the repairs?

Ask for a new laptop (company would own it)?

Any other option?

While it might sound like a saving for the company, using a personal laptop for work is a significant risk for any intellectual property your employer wants to protect.

When I started working in a small company (less than 10 employees), at the end of the interview that got me hired the owner/CEO expressed his concern that there was not a computer for me, and was glad I proposed to use my personal laptop, as it would save him the money of buying a new one.

Then some weeks later, after hearing on the radio about industrial espionage, he rushed into the office, yelling "I want no personal laptops in this office, who did ever give you permission to use one?". I calmly answered that he had agreed to such usage, but that once I was provided with a company laptop I would have been more than happy of leaving my laptop at home.

This said, I would make clear with your employer that they are hampering their own IP by allowing unmonitored computers to access their company network. Should any of you be subject to a ransomware attack, they will learn the lesson the hard way. As such, company owned and managed computers can be safer.

Regarding your own computer, it would be worth asking for the repair to be covered by the company: things staying as they are today, you cannot perform your work with a broken system, it's again their interest to have you working.

  • A company can normally get a better deal and have repairs handled through warranty service, far easier than Joe Smith off the street. As proven when Joe Smith's personal laptop is dropped off the desk and is not operable, they can't do their work on work until it's fixed. Of course, none of this helps the author, since the laptop falling off the desk, wasn't the companies fault. It's simply an observation, that I can make, due to a high-quality answer. – Donald Aug 5 at 15:21
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You should get your manager to get this repaired under company insurance as they required you use it.

If you had been using it without their permission, then they may not have to cover it...

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