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I recently switched my job, and now work for a mid-level firm in India. The company sent me to work at a client site. I was not happy with the work environment here. I discussed the issue with my HR and the company head, but they did not offer any solution and told me to continue working there.

I informed the company head that I have started looking for a new job. Now I got a very good opportunity and called the HR twice to ask about the employee separation process, but his assistant said she has informed him and he will call me regarding this. I am still in my 90-day probation period. The offer letter doesn't mention any notice period during probation period. Nonetheless, I sent them the resignation mail with one week notice. I haven't received any response from their side. I even sent a mail to the company head, but there was no response.

I have not told the next company about my current job, since this one month work experience hardly matters. Hence, I don't need any relieving letter or experience letter from them.

I have the company laptop and I do not know to whom I should hand it over. I have asked them in the mail, but as mentioned before, they have not responded. What should I do about this laptop when I leave the company? I believe that if I just keep the laptop there may be a legal issue.

So what is the right thing to do when a company you have left will not communicate with you about what I need to do to satisfy my obligations to them with regards to my leaving the company?

  • 1
    Can't you just (go to the office and) hand the laptop over to your manager or HR? If not, just email them and ask what to do with it (and hang onto it until they respond, if they do). Related: How to resign when your boss is impossible to reach? Also related: Am I required/expected to notify current boss that I'm looking for a new job? – Dukeling Sep 23 '17 at 16:51
  • @Liz. Could you please clarify if you are directly reporting to the company head, with no other management levels in between? I find that a bit hard to believe for a "mid-level" company. Anyway, the reason I ask is, I can answer your question, and a significant part of it depends on that specific detail. – Masked Man Sep 23 '17 at 17:41
  • @Dukeling I have emailed them asking to whom shall I handover the laptop but they didn't respond. I can go to the office for the laptop but I am concerned that if they don't give me acknowledgement of receiving laptop then what? – Liz. Sep 23 '17 at 17:46
  • @MaskedMan yes I am directly reporting to company head. No other levels in between. I have informed my team leader as well verbally . – Liz. Sep 23 '17 at 17:47
  • @Liz I made the implied question overt this should help get it reopened. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Sep 28 '17 at 15:24
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For the issue of returning the company laptop, an easy practical solution that usually works is to just hand it over to your team leader (or senior colleague) who works at the same client location. Of course, you should inform your boss by mail with the team leader in copy, and get the team leader to reply to the email confirming that they have received the laptop.

If there are no senior colleagues1 working at the same location or they are unwilling to cooperate, then you will have to follow the laborious "by the book" solution. Below is the order in which you would usually go about it in an Indian IT company. (You have already done some of these.)

  • E-mail: Send your resignation by email to your manager. This email should contain:

    • Your employee number
    • Your last working date
    • Details of the company property in your possession. In case of the company laptop, this should include the serial number and other identifying information (not a generic "company laptop").

    Ask for the proper procedure to return the laptop to the company, and clearly mention a reasonable date by when you need this information.

    Send a copy of this mail (and any responses/followup) to your personal mail. In the unlikely event that the matter goes to court, this email will be evidence to show that you did not intend to "run away" with the laptop.

  • Phone : If you do not receive any response within the reasonable time mentioned in the mail, call the person to ask for a response. If he doesn't answer the call, respond to the same email stating something like the below:

    Dear boss,

    I tried calling your official number 1234567890 at 11:15am on 23/Sep/2017, but did not get a response. Please respond to my previous mail or call me back on 0987654321.

  • Personal visit to the office: If you were working from your company's office, this would pretty much be a no-brainer, but since you work from a client location, you will have to unfortunately bear this inconvenience if there is no response after a couple of attempts.

    If they are deliberately ignoring you, it is possible that this would not help much as the boss could "coincidentally" be out of office when you reach there. Again, if that happens, keep a paper trail as in case of the phone which got no response.

  • Registered Post: A final option is to send them a paper letter through registered post (with acknowledgement due). Keep a copy of this letter for your future reference.

What should I do about this laptop when I leave the company?

If you are unable to return the laptop by your last date despite all the above reasonable efforts, you will have to send one final email to the boss like below:

Dear boss,

Today is my last working day with the company, but the company laptop (serial number: 12345) is still in my possession. I shall keep it in my possession until it is made clear to me how and when I should return it.

When you are ready to receive the laptop, please call me on 0987654321 or send me an email to my personal mail liz@example.com, so that we can figure out how the laptop can be returned to the company.

I can hear you and the readers exclaiming, "that's a lot of hoops to jump through for a trivial issue", but the unfortunate reality is that since the company property is in your possession, you have to bear the brunt of their lack of professionalism.

Will there be any legal issue?

Being in unauthorized possession of company property will definitely be a legal issue in almost(?) any country. Moreover, if you are working for the Indian arm of a foreign-based company, then the laptop is most likely procured with special tax exemptions provided under the Special Economic Zone or the Software Technology Park. This could create additional legal issues if you are in "private" possession of it.

However, given the expensive and time-consuming legal process, it is highly unlikely that the company will take you to court over a laptop. Most likely, when they realize that getting the laptop back might actually be a good idea, they will just politely ask you for it. Nonetheless, if you have enough evidence to prove your reasonable efforts, it will avoid getting you into legal trouble.

This is question is not just about returning the laptop to office but it is what should I do in this situation when company is ignoring you.

Given that you do not really want a relieving letter, your issue is actually just returning the laptop. If you were not in possession of the company laptop, you could have just handed in your email resignation and stopped showing up to work after the specified date.

I hope I have done the right thing as well.

Telling your boss and HR that you will start looking for a new job was not a good idea. This is especially worse when done right after raising an issue that they did not solve. Whether it was your intention or not, it makes you come across as a bit of crybaby. Take this as a lesson, and in future, if you are not happy with the work, do your job search stealthily.


1 The concept of "seniority" is significant in the Indian IT culture. Handing over the laptop to a "junior" or a peer could be seen as irresponsible.

  • 3
    Thank you for your answer. It has everything which I needed to know. – Liz. Sep 24 '17 at 10:24
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    Also, in terms of legal hassle, it would be difficult to go after someone if they went through the steps of trying to return it, as outlined. Excellent and thorough answer. – PoloHoleSet Sep 28 '17 at 16:44
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    @PoloHoleSet Indeed, and there have been some recent instances in India where the court penalized the petitioner for wasting the court's time with frivolous cases. That is why it is important for Liz (OP) to keep a paper trail of her efforts to return the laptop. Even if some incompetent legal counsel advises the company to go to court, Liz can avoid a long drawn legal battle by pleading to the court that the case is frivolous and she should be excused from it. ("Your Honour, I tried everything I could to return their laptop, but they weren't bothered to take it back.") – Masked Man Sep 28 '17 at 17:35
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I don't know if India is like the us but in the United States I would just send a certified letter or email to HR saying 'I resign effective this date.' And let them figure out their own next steps. It's not your obligation to jump through hoops to get them to acknowledge that you left. Take the new job and move on.

  • Things are much different in India – Glen Pierce Sep 24 '17 at 4:48
  • yes I have sent them an email with resignation date specified. – Liz. Sep 24 '17 at 10:26

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