A viewer had spent thousands of dollars in marketing and promotional materials for a new employee. The salesperson left after one week. Can the business owner do anything? Attorneys Ed Ciarimboli and Molly Clark have a solution.
Dave Kuharchik: Very fascinating employment question on this edition of “The Law & You.” Attorneys Molly Clark and Ed Ciarimboli are back. Greg is in Philadelphia.
Ed Ciarimboli: Yep. Listen, this question is hard that’s why I had to bring someone smarter than me and Greg on.
Dave: We haven’t seen one quite like this in recent memory. So, Tim in Pringle says, “I recently hired a new salesperson. I spent a couple thousand dollars on business cards, website updating, and promotional materials for him. He stayed for one week and then went to work at another company. Can I withhold the money that I spent from his last paycheck?” Can Tim from Pringle get any recourse over his investment here?
Ed: No, no, no. As an employer, never, ever, ever monkey around with somebody’s paycheck. There can be a tremendous amount of liability on the employer’s behalf if you do. Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state, you could have fired this particular employee whenever you wanted. And that means the employee can quit as well in the absence of a specific contract. See anything else?
Molly Clark: No, that’s what I was going say. Unless there was a contract, where you had some type of writing or understanding in place, I think you’re out of luck, unfortunately.
Dave: Well, we often hear the company can do this, the company can do that. But the employee also has some rights. The employee has the right to say, “You know what? This isn’t working for me.” So, in this case, the guy’s out.
Ed: You’re not bound to that particular employer. And just because the employee got your business cards, gave you a website, helped you with promotional materials, you still own those. The employee doesn’t own those. You can’t do anything with them, but they are still your property. But do not monkey with their paycheck.
Dave: Sometimes, it’s that easy and they will tell you. There’s no case, it’s not worth to pursue. Call the office, visit them online. Results matter with attorneys Molly Clark and Ed Ciarimboli. Thank you.
Ed: Thanks, Dave.
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