Ethical Conduct Regarding Use Of Tools

Question:

I have a friend that works for the local wastewater facility. Recently he took some vacation days and on one of his days off he received a call from fellow worker asking for the keys to his ‘company work truck’. They needed a tool and thought it was in his van. Since John lives less than a block from work he gave the key to them. Upon returning to work, he found that his truck had been rifled through completely. It was obvious that every nook and cranny had been explored; even some personal papers had been shuffled through. The tool that they wanted was in a box in the center of the floor in plain site. What is the legal stance on a situation like this? Are there any examples of past situations of this kind?

Signed,

Friend


Answer:

DearĀ Friend:

Our site does not answer legal questions; however, this situation more than likely is a company matter or one between your friend and the co-worker to whom he loaned keys to his truck. Legal solutions should be a last resort and are costly and time consuming. Unless your friend has evidence of stolen property, hard evidence, all he could do is report the theft to the local police department. Probably, the department head would prefer that such a matter be reported in-house, and the manager of the facility could then determine how it should be investigated.

If belongings in the truck had simply been disturbed or treated carelessly, is it not your friend’s business to inquire of the co-worker why things were left in a mess and to state his disappointment. An apology probably will follow, and a cooperative working relationship can then be restored. Moreover, your friend will have learned the kind of conditions he will place of giving up the keys to his truck should he be asked to do so again. Working together with hands, head and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and every organization needs plenty of that.

William Gorden