KK!HRMy views on the queries are given at seriatim below:-
1. The circumstances in which you were terminated, as stated by you, show it to be improper and illegal. So as the situation now stands, you have no right to retain possession of the laptop and other company belongings but in view of the fact that the company's past history doesn't inspire any confidence that you will be paid salary and other benefits, you can reply to them clearly indicating your willingness to return all company items and at the same time asking for payment of your estimated dues. You can threaten them to approach Labour authorities in case of non-payment.
2. By indicating your willingness to return all the items you stand a better chance to defend yourself.
3. Yes, the company has a lien (legal right) on the items entrusted to you for office use. Once the office use are over you are required to return them. Perhaps, while issuing them to you you would have signed some undertaking to return them on demand.
4. While termination letter indicates the factum of being terminated from service, after relieving from service, the employer-employee relationship comes to an end.
From India, Mumbai
Nagarkar Vinayak LDear madam,
The company's management has adopted an arm twisting tactics in terminating your services which are, on the face of it, unjustified and illegal.
You have every right to knock the doors of Labour court and seek justice.
You seem to be in possession of company's lap top. Let it be with you but write a letter, as suggested, to the top authority expressing clearly your intention to return it provided company is willing to settle all your legal dues and suitable compensation for illegal termination. Give them seven days time to reply and threaten them with lagal action if no reply.
Wait for company's response and on its receipt or otherwise revert for further advice.
HR and Employee Relations Consultant
From India, Mumbai
umakanthan53The post is silent about the capacity of the employment of the employee i.e., whether a workman falling u/s 2(k) of the IDA,1947 or outside it i.e., supervisory, administrative or managerial cadre. Disclosure of the cadre of one's job is a vital factor for deciding the forum for redressal of any employment grievance including illegal termination.
Again, there is no mention in the post about the exit clause pertaining to unilateral termination of the contract of employment by either party.
Keeping these initial observations for the feed back of the poster, let me try to answer the queries to the best of my knowledge as follows:
1) An act of illegality of the employer cannot be justifiably countered by the affected employee by means of another illegal act. Any property of the employer entrusted to with the employee for the purpose of employment cannot be held by the employee as collateral against any dues to him/her just because he/she is relieved from the job for full and final settlement is a mutual process that would be only after the termination which is unilaterally effected by the employer in this case.
2) The compliance of the suggestion of the above learned members in this regard by the poster can remove the dead lock as well as deter the ex-employer from initiating any legal action for the recovery of the property.
3) The answer to this query is included in the first answer itself. The issuance of a relieving order can neither extinguish the right of the ex-employer to demand back his property not create any entitlement in the ex-employee to own it.
If the employer fails to settle the legal dues, the poster can raise an industrial dispute u/s 2-A(1) of the IDA,1947 before the Conciliation Officer for the area in case he/she happened to be a 'workman'.
In any other case, a Civil Suit claiming damages for the breach of the contract of employment with costs is the option.
From India, Salem
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