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I terminated my employee. He still has my construction tools on his possession. Can I withhold his pay until he returns them? What are my next steps if he doesn't return them. Tools are worth approximately $7,000.00.

It is illegal for an employer to withhold an employee's pay until he or she returns company property.

Pursuant to s. 13(1) of the Ontario Employment Standards Act:

“An employer shall not withhold wages payable to an employee, make a deduction from an employee’s wages or cause the employee to return his or her wages to the employer unless authorized to do so under this section.”

If the employee fails to return the company property despite the company's reasonable requests, the company may then have to commence legal action for the return of same. If the value of the property is less than $25,000, the action would fall within the jurisdiction of Small Claims Court in Ontario. You could also consider calling the police for theft if the employee refuses to return the property within a reasonable time frame.
Lior Samfiru
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