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My previous employer keeps bugging me on paying for a company provided computer when it was lost and damaged by a typhoon. Am i legally obliged to pay for the computer?

Thank you,

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    Not knowing all the circumstances, not knowing the details of your contract, not even knowing what country you're in, I don't see how we could answer this. In the US, normally, assuming the damage was unavoidable and you returned the damaged machine to them. A company would write that loss of as part of the cost of doing business. Elsewhere? No se nada. Ask a local lawyer.
    – keshlam
    Commented Feb 6 at 3:18
  • Questions seeking advice on company-specific regulations, agreements, or policies should be directed to your manager or HR department. Questions that address only a specific company or position are of limited use to future visitors. Questions seeking legal advice should be directed to legal professionals. Commented Feb 6 at 3:49
  • Maybe you can check Law. Commented Feb 6 at 3:50

2 Answers 2

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In general, a contractor is supposed to provide their own tools to do the job, an employee is supposed to use the tools the employer provides.

While "work from home" changes that situation for some things, since the employer is not allowed to invade the privacy of your home and make changes, a laptop computer is something that is easily shipped and not an integral part of your home, just a tool as any other.

So a laptop provided to you stays the employers property. It has to be returned upon request. That also means it has to be serviced, repaired or replaced by your employer, or a third party they pay.

So if it was damaged, your employer needs to send a replacement for you to continue work. The old damaged one remains their property though and it is their right to get it back, no matter how damaged it is. The decision that it is unusable and be tossed is not yours. If it is a piece of scap metal with wires sticking out, it is still their piece of scap metal.

If you do not send back the old one, the employers is probably right to wonder whether you are actually telling the truth. If you have any kind of certificate or writing to prove that your home was so badly damaged, items are just gone, then it might be advantageous to show them. For example if walls were missing and had to be replaced, I'm sure a photo or two of your destroyed room for the insurance would do wonders for your credibility. If you told me that a typhoon hit your home and magically only the company laptop went missing without a trace, I'd doubt that, too.

Your countries laws and your exact contract if your laws allow it may vary, you did not specify where you live, so it's hard to know for sure.

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It depends on what country you are in and what the agreement was. When we allowed our staff to take their work computers home, during Covid, we discovered that our insurance company would not cover them.

So we had told the staff that the computers needed to be covered by their insurance companies.

  • Natural phenomena are often not covered by the insurance companies under the heading "Acts of God".
  • You have not been negligent.
  • It may have been lost anyway (if the company offices were damaged in the typhoon).
  • You were using it to produce work for the company.
  • The company did not inform you that you had to cover it for insurance.

So, I think that the employer should cover it.

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