Being fired is probably one of the most uncomfortable situations in the employment world. In some cases, the termination process may not even allow you enough time to retrieve your personal belongings as you exit the premises. However, unless there are extenuating circumstances regarding your dismissal, your former employer should not withhold your personal belongings. Here’s how to recover your possessions without permanently damaging any professional relationships.
Keep your cool, especially during your exit interview. Try to maintain high levels of professionalism, even if the news of your dismissal came as a surprise. Remember, being less argumentative during the termination will not only speed up future retrieval processes but will also increase your chances of getting positive references from your former boss. Additionally, ensure that you leave the premises discreetly to avoid security concerns that may lead to lawful prosecution.
Understand Company Policies
Most business institutions have put policies in place regarding the repossession of former employees’ personal effects. For instance, some companies may allow you to recover your items on your way out, while others may prefer to send them after verifying ownership. In case you are not familiar with these policies, be sure to make inquiries during your exit interview so as to understand the company’s protocol. Either way, the company has the legal responsibility of availing information pertaining to how they will deal with your personal items, after you leave.
Involve a Third Party
In case the company forbids you to reenter the office premises, send a trusted co-worker to collect your personal items on your behalf. Remember to provide them with a list of all of your possessions to help speed up any inspections by senior staff members. Conversely, if you had made prior arrangements with your former boss to collect your belongings in person, be sure to take an escort. Your companion will act as a witness that may help authenticate claims concerning any damaged property. Moreover, refrain from choosing a companion that has had any previous involvement with the company.
You may seek the help of the Human Resource department if the company prohibits you from either collecting your items in person or involving a third party. Under such circumstances, you must first present a letter of request and a list of your personal items to the Human Resource manager. Afterwards, a member of the department should collect your belongings or retrieve them from your former boss, and deliver them to you.
Use Legal Enforcement
Consider hiring a legal representative in case your former boss refuses to issue your personal items. However, it should only be considered as a last resort, because the legal proceedings involved may take longer than the other approaches. Furthermore, this approach not only requires a detailed list of all your belongings, but may also require you to provide substantial evidence confirming your ownership such as written statements and receipts.
Most importantly, ensure that you make all formal requests through certified channels. Similarly, take care not to misinterpret any of the company’s policies to avoid serious lawsuits.