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Can a company do this?

(99 Posts)
LushBlitzer Thu 18-Jan-18 11:11:26

Is a company allowed to open mail addressed to a specific employee? And take the said items inside and give it away?

My SIL send DH and me a giftcard in the mail just before xmas. She sent it to his work address. It was beautifully wrapped with xmas decorations on, so was more like a small package that may not have quite fit through the letterbox of our flat. She sent it to work thinking someone would be available to receive it whereas nobody would have been at our flat and we'd then have to wait till the weekend to collect it.
Unfortunately she forgot that DH's work place doesn't like employees to receive personal mail at work.

The gift never made it to us. DH wasn't told that it had arrived. DH asked post-room at work and they said that before 31st Dec someone came into the post-room, took all the un-opened mail, opened them and anything of value was put in a work raffle to raise money for charity. They can't say for certain if the SIL's package was amongst them, but they don't have it in their current pile.

DH doesn't want to kick up a fuss as he's fairly new at work and on probation still. SIL is trying to cancel but there's a good chance it'll have been spent already.

Realistically is there anything we can do to try and get the gift back? It was £50 so it's not a trivial amount to us.

Cherrycokewinning Thu 18-Jan-18 11:12:58

Yes they can open it- they shouldn’t really open anything marked private and confidential but not much you can do if they do.

Tbh for a new job I wouldn’t be kicking up a fuss. They’ll just come back and say you’re not allowed to receive personal mail at work

MerryShitmas Thu 18-Jan-18 11:14:04

Probably not legal; it's legal to open someone's post IF you didn't unlawfully intercept it or intend to deprive somebody of the contents. The latter would apply here.
But if it wasn't signed for I would say it's a bit hard to prove - he could have a word with management but you can't really do much more.

mumpoints Thu 18-Jan-18 11:14:54

It's theft. If it was addressed to someone other than the person who opened and stole it, it's theft.

They could have reprimanded your DH, or maybe even returned to sender, but not stolen it!

Cherrycokewinning Thu 18-Jan-18 11:16:02

It’s not theft or illegal. You have no idea what’s happened to it. It could be lost in the post room

LushBlitzer Thu 18-Jan-18 11:16:14

I don't mind them opening it.
I'm more annoyed that they thought it was appropriate to give the gift away without even telling DH.
Course we can't prove anything sad

Neolara Thu 18-Jan-18 11:16:15

I think that's shocking. How is it legal?

mumpoints Thu 18-Jan-18 11:16:42

Cherrycokewinning That's only when you have signed an agreement, surely? I had to sign a form to give permission for staff to open my mail.

LushBlitzer Thu 18-Jan-18 11:17:52

@Cherrycokewinning true our package could be lost somewhere.

But they admitted that they have taken a pile of letters and packages and donated the contents without telling the individual employees. So even if ours wasn't taken, some others were. This doesn't sound right does it?

Cherrycokewinning Thu 18-Jan-18 11:20:41

“Today 11:16 mumpoints

Cherrycokewinning That's only when you have signed an agreement, surely? I had to sign a form to give permission for staff to open my mail.“

That must just be the procedure at your company, it doesn’t have any legal standing

MerryShitmas Thu 18-Jan-18 11:22:00

Just because you can't prove it doesn't mean it's not theft. Just means OPs Dh can't actually do anything or get compensated etc for it.
Mind, how did she buy the gift card? If it was online, she can advise Amazon its been stolen and they can cancel the card (if it's not been spent already) that they sent. Harder to do if she bought it in store tho.
I speak as someone who's had a £75 Amazon card stolen. They were able to cancel the card and reissued it for me. It was 2.5 yrs or so ago though.

LushBlitzer Thu 18-Jan-18 11:29:22

It was bought in store I believe. But SIL might be able to find the receipt. It's worth a shot.
Don't suppose there's anything else we can do is there?

meredintofpandiculation Thu 18-Jan-18 11:35:50

Probably not legal; it's legal to open someone's post IF you didn't unlawfully intercept it or intend to deprive somebody of the contents. The latter would apply here. On the other hand, mail delivered to a business address is considered to be for that business. If it is addressed to a particular person at that address, then that is because that person is the correct person to be dealing with that business item (and not because the person is using the employer's facilities and staff for their own personal use).

Cherrycokewinning Thu 18-Jan-18 11:36:29

Doesn’t mean it is either merryshitmas

Cherrycokewinning Thu 18-Jan-18 11:39:29

“Probably not legal; it's legal to open someone's post IF you didn't unlawfully intercept it or intend to deprive somebody of the contents. The latter would apply here.”

The latter wouldn’t apply here because you still have no idea whether anyone intended to deprive him of the contents (and I would argue someone on a business post rota never has the intention to do that when they open incoming post- its simply their job)

AlexanderHamilton Thu 18-Jan-18 11:39:52

We open all mail that comes to work as we have a system of everything being put in a pile face down & opened without reading whom something is addressed to.

I'd never not pass something like that on though.

Snowdrop18 Thu 18-Jan-18 11:40:03

the mere fact of doing that with unopened mail makes them sound like a really dodgy company

do they do anything else weird? It's one thing to say you don't allow personal mail but to actually open all that stuff before Xmas just smacks of people taking advantage.

Cherrycokewinning Thu 18-Jan-18 11:42:50

Most companies I have worked for have taken corporate Christmas gifts (booze, chocs, vouchers, anything really) and put them into a January raffle, ever since the bribery act came in. I assumed that’s the sort of thing they were trying to do.

cantucciniamaretto Thu 18-Jan-18 11:44:33

It’s not theft or illegal. You have no idea what’s happened to it. It could be lost in the post room

Of course it is both theft and illegal. They have admitted to opening post, stealing the contents, and giving them away!

AlexanderHamilton Thu 18-Jan-18 11:45:19

One thing that occurs to me.

We often get gifts from clients & suppliers st Christmas but we have to be careful what we accept due to bribery etc. All chocolate/alcohol gifts are pooled. Is it possible they thought is was a Christmas gift from a client or supplier that individual employees are not supposed to accept.

Cherrycokewinning Thu 18-Jan-18 11:46:21

They haven’t at all cantuccinihmm

cantucciniamaretto Thu 18-Jan-18 11:46:30

No it isn't. There would have been a card signed with the sisters name. They would easily have known it wasn't a coroporate gift/

Cherrycokewinning Thu 18-Jan-18 11:47:58

So cantuccini as you’re so sure- what’s your advice to OP to resolve this?

AlexanderHamilton Thu 18-Jan-18 11:48:27

The sister's name could bevanyone though.

meredintofpandiculation Thu 18-Jan-18 11:49:14

It's not theft or illegal - the post was addressed to the business, therefore it's assumed it was intended for the business. That it had someone's name on it only implies that that was the person who was expected to reply to the post.

The employer could take the view that if people receive personal post without authorisation, then that is theft because they are making use of the employer's facilities and staff for their own personal use.

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