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  • #999178
    • Total posts: 1

    Hi guys

    Long time lurker, first time poster :)

    I hope this is the right section for this to post in, if not please feel free to point me in the right direction (aka move the thread!) :)

    My partner and I have been running a wedding photography business for about 2-3 years and we have hired staff to assist us for every session.

    We had an incident where one of our staff who is responsible for packing up all the equipments at the end of the shoot, left our camera and other equipments behind. We couldn’t find it back when we quickly head back to the site and asking lost & found. It is an expensive camera and we had to get a replacement asap in order not to disappoint our clients.

    My question is do we have the right to ask our staff to pay for the missing equipments by deducting their pay or outright payment?

    We would like to deal with this issue in the right and fair way for our staff.

    • Total posts: 712

    No, you do not have that right. I think you should spend some time on procedures and checklists so everyone knows exactly how to unpack and pack up and what equipment is checked off before finishing.
    As your staff get more experienced they will develop their own steps which will come from familiarity with the equipment, but up until then a check off list should do the job, and no rushing which can add to this sort of problem.

    Paul – FS Concierge
    • Total posts: 3,173

    Hi And Welcome to Flying Solo [USER=113069]@Weareunited[/USER] . It is great to have you!

    Thank you for joining our community and posting today.


    • Total posts: 4,485

    This is where your business insurance should kick in

    • Total posts: 2,344

    From another perspective – when you say staff, are they a formal employee or a contractor? If an employee, what does your employment agreement say about these sorts of situations? If a contractor, they should (I imagine) also have insurance to cover such situations? 100% agree with Bert above, that your business insurance should cover these things? I don’t imagine, unless they are actually an independent contractor that you could ask the employee to cover the costs.

    James Millar
    • Total posts: 1,702

    I’d be interested to know where the law sits on this regarding termination / dismissal (assuming it was an employee of a small business).

    In my view, yes procedures, checklists and training are an important step in the accountability process HOWEVER there must be some baseline reasonable expectation that an employer is entitled to require from their employees. Perhaps “commonsense” is the best description. Forgetting to pack the most expensive tool (camera) is a basic expectation. Much like being able to tie your shoes and open a door. If you can’t do these things then I don’t think an employer should be required to provide extensive retraining and PD to improve performance.

    But this may be a genuine (isolated) mistake made by an otherwise excellent employee – in which case it would be wise to suck it up and move on.

    Helping build better businesses and better lives with expert financial and taxation advice. info@360partners.com.au www.360partners.com.au 03 9005 4900
    Jason Ramage
    • Total posts: 3,162

    Interesting situation…. Are you saying you were present at the shoot as well?

    Just an opinion, although i feel the entire situation is not mentioned which would make it hard to have a complete opinion on this.. However, i feel this person in question could not be held accountable for the loss re the $$$.. Yes, responsible for neglecting their duties, although not burdening the cost.. As Bert mentions, this is what insurance is for…

    More importantly, i am curious on several things.. length of employment this person has with you and in the industry in same role? what processes have you walked through with them to ensure its done right? do you create a check list? basically, what have you done to ensure that all is packed properly by anyone you employ? Also, how do we know it was left behind? only asking as it was not in lost and found, would be unusual for a guest to grab a case with camera by mistake? Or more importantly, was it stolen before it was packed which may explain the oversight in packing it as it was not there? where did it go missing from? was it unattended after you used it to shoot? so many questions and to attribute blame may be hard.

    Also, if i had expensive equipment on site, i would monitor it like a hawk – and/or strapping it to an assistants hand :)

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: hello@lucasarthur.net.au   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    James Millar
    • Total posts: 1,702

    Just to clarify – I don’t think cost recovery is an option either legally or ethically. Employees make mistakes and sometimes they are expensive ones. Sometimes those mistakes may also warrant termination. That’s the cost of doing business.

    Helping build better businesses and better lives with expert financial and taxation advice. info@360partners.com.au www.360partners.com.au 03 9005 4900
    • Total posts: 4,485
    JamesMillar, post: 263260, member: 5318 wrote:
    Sometimes those mistakes may also warrant termination.
    It would have to be a well justified sometome, I would doubt you could legitimately terminate if it was the first instance, and the employer has no process in place re checking of equipment as Jason said. For all we know it could be the employer who lost (?) the equipment.

    Termination based on the info provided could lead the OP down a minefield and should not be taken lightly.

    • Total posts: 2
    bb1, post: 263201, member: 53375 wrote:
    This is where your business insurance should kick in
    As Bert said, now might be a good time to talk to your insurer and see if you have any of your equipment insured for this kind of situation or talk about covering it god forbid it happens again. :)
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