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Taking company tools to compensate for non-payment of wages

Fatwaa ID: 569

Question:
If an employee worked overtime,for which he was not paid. Can the employee keep the company tools that he had borrowed on the basis that it will compensate overtime?

Clarification:
On the context of giving bonus,they are taking advantage and making them do overtime .No hope of being paid in the future nor thru HR.

Answer:
In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

We take note of the details of your query. We also note that the question is from Saudi Arabia and this is a common occurrence there by the oppressive companies. May Allaah Ta’aala make it easy for you and those who are victims of similar crimes.

This culture or attitude of delaying payments, non-payment and withholding payments is contrary to Islamic values. Islam has put great emphasis on treating the employees well. Rasulullaah (S) said,

أَعْطُوا الأَجِيرَ أَجْرَهُ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَجِفَّ عَرَقُهُ
“Give the hired worker his wage before his sweat dries.” [Ibn Maajah 2443]

Nevertheless, if one is oppressed and he does not have any hope of getting the payment he is entitled to for his work or the withholding is resulting in financial constraints, then he will be justified and excused to take the company’s tools and belongings to compensate for the amount owed to him. The value of the tools however may not exceed the total amount owed to him. Any additional amount beyond what he is rightly entitled to must be returned. Moving forward, if he receives the owed payments from the company, then he will have to reimburse the company fully.

It should be noted that we are not encouraging criminal activities. Rather, this question is applicable in hopeless oppressive situations wherein this is the only way to repel oppression from oneself. Even in such cases, one should be considerate of the harms and repercussions of one’s actions. One should ensure that he avoids placing himself in legal trouble and/or humiliation.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York
https://askthemufti.us/

07/19/1444 AH – 02/10/2023 CE | AML1-7049

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين

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