If your company has allotted its assets to the employee then while allotting these assets have you taken the "loan card" from the employee? What evidence you have to show that the employee is in possession of the company property?
If the employee has abandoned his duties and joined your competitors then you cannot take objection against joining the competitor even though the inclusion of a clause to this effect in the appointment letter. For further details click the following link:
Solution: - At this stage, you may send a letter to the employee to his address by Registered/AD. Tell him to report for the duties immediate and in case if he wishes to resign from his duties he may do so but by fulfilling the conditions of the employment. Secondly, he must return the company assets immediately. If the employee does not turn around, then send the letter to his employer telling them to direct the employee to your company.
Final comments: - A salesperson works for 15 long years but if he abandons duties all of a sudden then this shows the lack of his mental or emotional engagement with the company. He might have pretended to be loyal but his abandonment of the duties has brought forth the falsehood of his loyalty. The lesson to be learnt by HR professionals from this episode is that they need to worry about the real engagement and not just pretensions about it.
From India, Bangalore
You can not do any objection, on his joining to competitor as he already absconded from job. Also person who served 15 yrs in an organization is a real assets, but in this case there must be some trust issue . You need to work on engagement of employees. For assets I believe you must took some letter or confirmation from employee while issue assets to them, you can send him a letter and an official mail, issue warning letter to complete the exit formalities. If he not come to do formalities then you can use appointment letter copy clause against him. But I am amazed how the other companies HR consider absconded cases just to fill vacancy. You need to work on HR policy as well for absconded case and take confirmation from employees.
From India, Delhi
From India, Bangalore