Duty of restitution


According to the Code of Obligations, an employee must account for everything he receives for himself in the course of performing his work, including money. He is obliged to return everything he has received to the employer immediately. This is the employee's duty of restitution. In addition, at the end of the employment relationship, the employee must return the material received from the employer for the performance of his work.


It is common for an employee to receive equipment in order to perform his work in the best possible way. Laptop, smartphone, company car... The employer can demand their return when he dismisses the employee or when the latter resigns. In principle, the employee is obliged to return this equipment on the last effective day of work, when he is released from his obligation to work.

The question is more delicate if the employee may have used the equipment for private purposes during the employment relationship. If the employee is released from his or her obligation to work, and in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, he or she may continue to use the company car or laptop until the end of the leave period.


When the employer entrusts his employee with equipment, he expects him to take the best possible care of it until the end of the employment relationship. However, some employees are clumsy, inattentive or even negligent. An accident in the parking lot with the company car or a spilled coffee on the laptop are all incidents that happen quickly. When at fault or proven negligent, the employee can be made responsible for the damage caused.

Gifts from Customers and Suppliers

Sometimes a customer or supplier who is particularly pleased with an employee's performance will give him or her a gift around Christmas time or on the occasion of a business deal. When it is a normal gift, such as a bottle of wine, this is not normally a problem.

The situation is more delicate when the gift exceeds a certain amount or is given in exchange for services provided by the employee. The employer's interests may be adversely affected. The acceptance of such a gift may constitute a breach of the duty of loyalty or even a criminal offence under certain conditions. The employee may not accept such gifts or benefits under any circumstances and must inform the employer.

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1 Mar, 2010 byMarianne Favre Moreillon