Would you please share your current procedures, thoughts regarding how you have collected company equipment from remote workers who have self terminated and stopped communicating with the employer?
It can certainly be difficult to retrieve company equipment in this situation!
When an employee destroys company property or fails to return it after termination, the employer's ability to recoup the loss through a payroll deduction is extremely limited and varies from state to state. As a general rule, any amount that is deducted from a nonexempt employee must not put the employee's wages below the minimum wage.
Once the employee has left the company, the employer's rights as to the value of the unreturned equipment are similar to those of other creditors. The employer can file a civil suit to collect the money owed or simply write off the debt.
Before initiative legal action, a good first step is to try sending the former employee a certified letter requesting that the equipment be returned. If that fails, a second letter in invoice form (representing the cost of the unreturned equipment) can be sent. Sometimes this is enough to spur the employee to take action and return the equipment.